In the past three months, there have been several separate fatal Amtrak-related accidents across the United States. It has forced the beleaguered passenger rail line into the national spotlight. as people start to question why have so many incidents occurred in such a short period of time.

Vance Creek Bridge in Washington

How Many Amtrak Accidents Have There Been?

Fatal Amtrak-related train accidents have been on the rise since 2008. In 2008, there were 119 incidents compared to 167 in 2017. The majority of these accidents occur when Amtrak trains strike and kill pedestrians and people in their vehicles. Going back to as far as 1976, there have been a total of 31 Amtrak derailments.

Here is a brief summary of the latest three Amtrak derailments:

Feb 4, 2018: A CSX freight train was parked when an Amtrak train crashed into it. Accident investigators say that a locked switched forced the Amtrak train onto the rail that the CSX train was on. The accident resulted in the death of the engineer and conductor of the train.

December 18, 2017: An Amtrak train that was traveling 80mph in a 30mph zone derailed in DuPont, Washington. The accident resulted in the death of three passengers, and dozens of others injured.

May 12, 2015: Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia, killing eight passengers. At the time of the accident, the train was traveling 106mph. Accident investigators found that the engineer had forgot where on the route he was.

Why Are These Issues Happening?

Since every incident is unique, there’s no single cause or factor to blame in Amtrak accidents. Lack of safety features, human error and employees not following proper safety protocol are all common factors in Amtrak-related train accidents and derailments.

In the recent CSX train incident, investigators stated that the work crews were busy fixing the tracks automatic-braking technology when the accident occurred. The DuPont derailment occurred due to the train traveling double over the posted speed limit.

Are Amtrak Employees Properly Trained?

Amtrak has a set of safety standards and protocols that their employees must follow. In the event of an accident, investigators and attorneys for the accident victims carefully study the evidence. They look for signs that employees deviated from safety standards and protocols.

Amtrak trains may run on railways owned by other companies—and vice versa. Each rail company has its own set of safety standards and protocols. This hodgepodge of safety cultures can lead to serious gaps in safety that will eventually result in a major train accident.

Washington Train Accident Attorneys in Tacoma & Seattle

Train accidents cases are complex. This is why you should hire a Washington personal injury law firm with experience handling train accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a train accident, contact us to speak with an attorney. At Herrmann Law Group, we have helped the survivors of other major commercial passenger accidents seek justice in a court of law. We will stand by your side and can help guide you through this complex and often confusing process.