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Mechanical Problems in Wake of D.C. Metro Crash Fatalities Causes Deep Concern Over Other Mass Transit Systems

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Although the NTSB will continue to investigate the DC metro accident, there appears to be a whole new crop of concerns over the country’s many other mass transit systems, and rightfully so.

As officials investigate further and are looking much more closely at almost 3000 rail sensors along the DC metro line, they have also begun inspecting the computer system governing all the train’s movements. The investigation will be on going and very tedious at times, but it is imperative to go over this fatal accident with a fine toothed comb.

A mitigating factor in this tragically fatal collision would be the age of the train and the severity of the crash. The antiquated model 1000 series cars involved have clearly been shown to crumple up like a tin can. As these cars from this series date back to the 1970’s and they simply don’t have the rigidity of the newer models.

This does not ease the concerns of riders in other big cities that have come to rely on their subways and commuter trains. There were several previous federal studies pointing out weaknesses in the subways of many other metropolitan areas, but excluded D.C.. So now there is a renewed worry affecting millions of commuters that live and visit the New Jersey/ New York metro area. The NYC subway systems come to mind, those traveling to the Philly and southern NJ area may ride PATCO and Septa. What is fortunate, PATH has started receiving new cars and will have the fleet completely updated in a couple of years.

Lack of funding and money available at the local level is a primary reason why the subway/transit fleet is rolling old cars that might be unsafe in a collision. Obama’s stimulus money is too little too late to really make much impact at all in these areas that can cause future catastrophes.

Unfortunately, with the passage of Obama’s Climate-Energy Bill likely, these rail systems will be burdened by massive increases in energy costs as well as the inefficiency of rolling older cars. This has all the ingredients of another tragic incident because it is likely that funding for improvements will be scarce. Combine this lack of funding with the ever increasing electricity costs to power these mass transit systems in an unprofitable and largely subsidized government business, you then have a recipe for disaster.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard injury law blog as a pro bono service to consumers. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY, who handle car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more.

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