NTSB Officials Say Fatigue Played a Role in Missouri Train Crash
Federal investigators determined this week that erratic shifts and sleep deprivation may have played a part in a collision between two freight trains in May 2013 in southeast Missouri. According to an Associated Press news report, the accident occurred when a Union Pacific freight train pulling 60 cars hit a 75-car Burlington Northern Santa Fe train at the Rockview intersection. The collision resulted in derailment, a fire, and an overpass collapse in which five automobile passengers were injured.
A train conductor and engineer also sustained injuries. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is investigating the incident, says the Union Pacific conductor and engineer failed to do what was necessary to prevent the crash. The report further determined that their performance on that day may have been compromised by fatigue as a result of working erratic schedules in the days leading to the accident.
Under federal law, operators of commercial vehicles such as buses, large trucks, and trains must get sufficient rest before starting a shift. In fact, drivers who operate buses and trucks are required to maintain a log detailing their hours worked and rest periods. This type of documentation is required under the law and for good reason. A fatigued driver is a dangerous driver. That is true for train engineers as well. These are jobs that require skill, knowledge, and alertness at all times.
Anyone who has been injured as a result of a fatigued vehicle operator can pursue compensation for the losses sustained. In such cases, plaintiffs may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. An experienced Missouri personal injury lawyer at Page Law will be able to advise injured victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.
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