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March 24, 2014

Drowsy Driving May Have Been a Factor in CTA Train Crash That Injured Over 30

According to CTA union president Robert Kelly, the operator of the Blue Line train involved in a train crash at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago early Monday morning may have fallen asleep at the wheel. The train train jumped the platform and went up an escalator.

Over 30 people were injured in the CTA train crash. None of the injuries are life-threatening.

The National Transportation Safety Board is looking into the accident. After the train crash, the eight-car train remained stuck on the escalator so investigators could try to figure out what happened.

Kelly suggested that a bumping post, which serves as a metal shock absorber, might have shot the train off the track. This could have caused the driver’s hand to push the lever forward, increasing the train’s power and sending it off and over the post.

He also noted that there are signs to indicate that that train operator, who works a lot of overtime and had been off just 17 hours before beginning her overnight shift, may have been tired at the time of the accident and dozed off.

Massachusetts Train Crashes
Our Boston train accident lawyers represent victims that were injured in a Massachusetts that was caused by someone else’s negligence. Example of common causes of MBTA injury cases include train malfunction, derailment, operator error, crossing gate malfunction, drowsy driving, and distracted driving. We also handle MBTA injury cases involving incidents that occurred on the premises of a station, including injuries caused by violent crimes. Please contact one of our Massachusetts premises liability lawyers to find out about your legal options.

Altman & Altman lLP also handles cases involving injury accidents caused by unsafe conditions on trains, buses, station platforms, escalators, elevators, stairwells, and entries, and other MBTA locations. Please contact our Boston MBTA accident lawyers today.

Drowsy Driving
A train operator who is tired can pose a safety risk. His/her reflexes may be slower, which can make it hard to respond quickly and appropriately in an emergency situation. Falling asleep at the wheel of any vehicle can prove catastrophic for passengers and others involved in a crash.

The New York Times says that in 2009, drowsy driving was a factor in about 730 fatal motor vehicle crashes. Another 30,000 drowsy driving crashes occurred in which there were no deaths. Imagine how high the death and injury toll can be when the vehicle involved is as large as a train and carrying so many occupants.

Focus in CTA crash falls on operator fatigue, speeding, Chicago Tribune, March 24, 2013

Drowsy Drivers Pose Major Risks, New York Times, January 4, 2013

National Transportation Safety Board

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

More Blog Posts:
Multiple Injuries in MBTA Green Line Derailment, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, March 11, 2014

Accutane Lawsuit Retrial Results in $1.5M Drug Defect Verdict, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, March 20, 2014

Two Injured in Chinatown Construction Accident, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, March 20, 2014

March 11, 2014

Multiple Injuries in MBTA Green Line Derailment

At approximately 12:30pm on Monday, March 10th, an MBTA Green line train heading outbound toward Riverside derailed and struck a wall near the Beacon Street portal where the D and C lines intersect, according to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo. Multiple minor injuries were reported, with conflicting accounts coming from Boston EMS and MBTA Transit Police. Boston EMS reported via Twitter that 10 people, including the train operator, were taken to local hospital, while MBTA Transit police reported six injuries. Four people, including the operator of the derailed car reported having back pain following the crash, according to WHDH. Though most of the injuries reported were from the derailed train, some passengers in a train directly behind the accident were treated for injuries as the operator had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting the disabled train.

According to the verified MBTA Twitter page, service between Kenmore and Fenway on the D line and Kenmore and St. Mary's Street on the C line was shut down for the remainder of the day. Crews worked through the night to make sure MBTA service returned to normal this morning just after 5:00am.

Continue reading "Multiple Injuries in MBTA Green Line Derailment" »

December 3, 2013

Fatigue and Human Error Possible Factors in NY Train Derailment

Officials investigating the train that derailed near the Spuyten Duyvil station in Bronx, New York over the weekend believe human error may have been the main cause of the fatal incident.

The passenger train, which was en route to New York City early Sunday morning, jumped the tracks after going into a curve at 82 mph, nearly three times the speed limit. Four people were killed and dozens more were injured.

Anthony Bottalico, the leader of the rail employees union and the representative for William Rockfeller, the engineer responsible for the crash, said that human error was what may have caused the accident. On the day of the crash, Rockefeller was on the second day of a five-day workweek and reported for duty at 5:04 a.m. after working a typical, nine-hour shift the day before. According to Bottalico, Rockfeller said that he had been in a daze and that his mind had been wandering when he realized the train was in trouble. Rockfeller allegedly caught himself dozing off, and put the train into emergency only six seconds before the train and seven of its cars jumped off the tracks.

National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener said that investigators have not yet found any evidence that there were any mechanical issues with the train and New York law enforcement officials have launched a separate investigation to determine whether criminal charges will be filed against Rockfeller. Alcohol and drugs have not been cited as factors in the accident, and officials are still investigating the cause.

Continue reading "Fatigue and Human Error Possible Factors in NY Train Derailment" »

June 17, 2013

AAA Says Hands-Free Calling & Texting Devices Don’t Prevent Boston Distracted Driving Accidents

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, sending and reading text messages with a hands-free devices or talking on a cell phone without using your hands while driving are no less distracting than doing these activities manually. The AAA’s study comes as voice-activated technologies that let people talk, text, and Facebook while driving continue to grow in popularity. This is the most comprehensive study of its kind to date. In Massachusetts, please contact our Boston injury lawyers if you believe that your car crash injuries or a loved one’s death was caused by a negligent driver.

Per the study, which sought to gauge how mental or cognitive distraction affect driving, even these hands-free devices don’t take away the mental distraction that can arise from engaging in so many other activities while operating a motor vehicle. As the mind becomes more distracted, the brain’s reaction capabilities slow down, as does its ability to detect vital cues on the road, including pedestrians and stop signs.

These findings are important for hands-free device manufacturers and also makers to know so that they can make sure that consumers don’t end up thinking that these types of products make it safer to text and talk while driving. AAA CEO Robert Darbelnet even called the surge in hands-free technology a “public safety crisis” just waiting to happen.

When a driver is distracted, whether by technology, cell phone calls, Facebook, Twitter, texting, reading, watching a movie, or engaged/thinking about any other activity, he/she is more prone to causing (or failing to avoid) a Boston car crash. In the US, distracted driving kills more than 3,000 people a year, causing hundreds of thousands of additional injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, almost one out of five auto crashes in 2010 involved distracted driving. During June 2011 alone, more than196 billion texts were received or sent in the US—that’s almost a 50% rise from the amount of texts sent and received throughout June 2009.

Bottom line, you don’t need to be using your hands to become mentally distracted while driving. If anything, a driver might be lulled into a false sense of security and safety, causing him/her to become less vigilant and careful. Our Boston distracted driving lawyers would like to offer you a free case evalution to find out whether you have grounds for a claim.

The AAA Study (PDF)

Hands-Free Gadgets Don't Mean Risk-Free Driving, NPR, June 12, 2013

Distracted Driving, CDC

More Blog Posts:
Woman Injured After Hit-and-Run Accident in Worcester, MA, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, May 30, 2013

Drug Injury Lawsuits Blame Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol for Liver Damage, Drug Injury Lawyer Blog, June 13, 2013

Seatbelts Could Have Saved 3 BU Students in New Zealand Car Accident, Officials Say, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, June 12, 2013

December 10, 2012

MBTA Fires “Inattentive” Driver Involved in Boston Train Crash

The MBTA has fired the driver of a Green Line train that recently collided with another train, sending numerous riders to the hospital.

The reason for the termination is that the driver was “inattentive” at the time of the crash, said MBTA General Manager Jonathan R. Davis.

Davis said the driver was “solely responsible” for the accident. The driver had worked another, non-MBTA job from midnight to 8:00 a.m. before starting his MBTA job at 11:00 a.m., approximately an hour before the crash. The MBTA has not released the name of the driver or a description of the second job.

MBTA rules do not specifically prohibit employees from working additional jobs, but by not having sufficient rest before reporting to work, the driver was unfit for duty, violating MBTA policy, said Davis.

“Because of his alarming disregard for customer and employee safety in performing his duty as a Green Line operator, today he was fired,” Davis said at a news conference prior to a regularly scheduled meeting of the state transportation board. “The conclusion is he was inattentive to his duties as a Green Line operator, resulting in a collision with the other vehicle.”

The driver reported to investigators that he did not fall asleep while operating the train, said Davis. Investigators were unable to determine if that was in fact the case, said Davis.

The collision between two Green Line trains at the Boylston Street station occurred just before noon on Thursday, injuring tens of people. The train was entering the station when it rear-ended another train that had stopped on the platform.

37 people were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries. “People went flying, got their knees banged up. It was pretty hectic,” said one rider.

None of the trolleys were damaged in the crash and the station opened in time for the evening commute.

Continue reading "MBTA Fires “Inattentive” Driver Involved in Boston Train Crash" »

December 3, 2012

No Cell Phone Use or Mechanical Failure in Boston Green Line MBTA Crash

Last week, our Boston Personal Injury Lawyers blogged about the MBTA crash involving two Trolleys in Boston, MA. Investigators now report they have found no evidence that cell phone use or mechanical failure caused the crash between two Green Line trains on Thursday that injured 37 people, said the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

The collision occurred when “One trolley bumped into the rear of another trolley that was making a regular stop at the station," said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo. According to one rider, “people went flying, got their knees banged up. It was pretty hectic.”

"The train was going, and all of a sudden we heard a loud crash," and "All of us just piled on top of each other," one witness said.

EMTs set up a triage center outside the station to treat injured riders. 37 passengers were taken to area hospitals. The operator of the second trolley was also injured, Pesaturo said.
Chief of Boston EMS James Hooley said several people “complained of neck and back pain that required them to be carried up and extracted, but the majority of them – 28 or so – were walking, wounded.”

About 200 people were on the Green Line trains at the time of the crash.
MBTA officials downplayed the severity of the incident, saying it was a “slow-speed crash” that damaged no trolleys. There were no serious injuries, Hooley said.

Continue reading "No Cell Phone Use or Mechanical Failure in Boston Green Line MBTA Crash" »

November 29, 2012

35 Hurt in Boston Trolley Accident Involving Two Trains

A Boston train crash at Boylston Station this morning has left at least 35 people with injuries. Nine of the victims were immobilized because of possible neck or head injuries.

The Boston trolley collision happened when a Green Line train departing Park Street Station rear-ended a trolley that was at the Boylston Station platform. Both trains were two-car trains.

According to MBTA Transit Police, initial signs indicate that the moving train wasn’t going at a fast speed when impact was made. However, The Boston Globe quotes one witness who said that she didn’t think the operator of the train, which she was riding, had braked before the collision. Another witness said he saw one passenger, who was boarding the stopped trolley at the time, get knocked back onto the concrete platform where he landed face down.

In Massachusetts, please contact our Boston MBTA Accident law firm if you or someone you love was injured in a train, trolley, subway, or bus accident. Over the years, Altman & Altman LLP has successfully handled train injury cases and we have an extensive range of experience in such matters, including accidents on MBTA premises, including those involving platforms, stations, escalators, stairs, doors, entryways, egresses, stairwells, and exits.

Common causes of Massachusetts train crashes:
• Distracted operator
• Drowsy operator
• Speeding
• Equipment failure
• Derailment

Train collisions can lead to serious injuries for those on the train, who don’t have a seat belt securing them and those not on the train who must deal with the impact of colliding with such a large, heavy, generally fast moving vehicle.

Our Boston work injury lawyers also represent train and railroad employees that were hurt in a collision or in another work accident and wish to file a claim through the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA).

35 taken to hospital after two trolleys collide at Boylston MBTA station,, November 29, 2012

Dozens Hurt In Green Line Collision At Boylston Street MBTA Station, Boston CBS Local, November 29, 2012

Massachusetts Bay Area Transportation Authority

More Blog Posts:
Multiple MBTA Accidents Occur at Cambridge and Boston Stations, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, October 25, 2012

Boston Green Line Trolley Collision Caused by Human Error, Says MBTA, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, October 9, 2012

MBTA Worker Falls Down 30-Foot Concrete Shaft at Charles/ Massachusetts General Hospital Station in Boston, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, March 30, 2011

October 30, 2012

Recent Assaults on MBTA in Boston Promt Investigation

A bus owned by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) was traveling on Albany Street near the Boston Medical Center early this morning when a male passenger demanded to be let off. The bus driver refused, as it was not an authorized bus stop, which agitated the passenger. The passenger then punched the driver in the side of the head and jumped out of the emergency window exit. The driver was treated for his injuries by Boston EMS and police continue to search for the passenger.

Unfortunately, this is not the first assault against an MBTA employee this month. A MBTA operator was spat on at the beginning of the month at the intersection of Washington Street and Harvard Street in Charlestown. MBTA employees are not surprised by these assaults as there has statistically been a rise of assaults annually. Transit police gave a picture of the suspect to the press in hopes of finding and prosecuting him.

Another incident occurred on Dudley Street and Hamden Street, when passenger Carlos A. Ramirez-Rodrigue entered the bus and started to verbally fight with the driver. After yelling a number of obscenities, the MBTA operator asked Ramirez-Rodrigue to leave the bus. Ramirez-Rodrigue responded by repeatedly spitting in the direction of the driver as he left the bus, and when the door to the bus closed, he began to punch the door causing the door window to shatter. He was subsequently arrested for damaging MBTA property as well as two counts of assault and battery. Sadly, there have been many incidents like this one involving the endangerment of MBTA employees this year, including a death that occurred last August.

Continue reading "Recent Assaults on MBTA in Boston Promt Investigation" »

October 25, 2012

Multiple MBTA Accidents Occur at Cambridge and Boston Stations

The MBTA provides a way to get around for those who want to take public transportation to get to almost any part of the state. Residents in Boston often prefer this type of commute because of the heavy congestion associated with driving. However, with accidents and dangerous activities occurring on the lines lately, residents might be wondering if they better off taking a chance in their own vehicles.

MBTA Train Deaths

Two accidents that occurred recently on the MBTA train tracks took the lives of two young adults. Last Wednesday night, a man was struck and killed by a commuter train in Boston. Police have yet to identify this man or the circumstances surrounding the incident. The man is believed to be 21-year old from Roslindale. The death still remains under investigation at the Forest Hills Station, where the man met his untimely devise at 9:45 that night by an oncoming train. The train immediately discontinued service and passengers from this train were transported via a shuttle bus. The train continued regular service the day after. Another man, who was 19 years of age, was also killed by a train in Salem the night after by Ocean Avenue and Broadway Street. This incident also remains under investigation, but transit police believes that “alcohol may have been a contributing factor in this incident.”

Continue reading "Multiple MBTA Accidents Occur at Cambridge and Boston Stations" »

October 15, 2012

MBTA Green Line Trolley Derails in Boston

Massachusetts has one of the most heavily used light rail lines in the country – the Green Line, named accordingly as it primarily passes through a place known as the Emerald Necklace of Boston. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) runs this streetcar system, which is the oldest line of Boston’s subway with an average of 232,000 people riding it on any given weekday. Have you ever taken the Green Line to work, to shop or to visit friends or family in another area?

Since the Green Line will take you through Downtown Boston and Back Bay, it is no wonder why so many people have chosen this convenient method of transportation over driving. Still, the Green Line is not perfect and is subject to scrutiny recently by its own passengers. This criticism is due to the accident that occurred two days ago when the trolley derailed, struck an empty trolley, and injured some of its passengers as well as its operator.

The accident occurred between Brigham Circle and Longwood Medical Area stops on the “E” line. Many people were injured and both trolleys suffered significant damage. An estimated 24 people were on the train, 3 of which were taken to the hospital to be treating for their injuries. These injured passengers, along with the operator of the trolley, complained of neck and back pain. Even though the number of accidents on MBTA lines has decreased in the past few years, the statistics provide little to no comfort to the victims of the latest accident.

Continue reading "MBTA Green Line Trolley Derails in Boston" »