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Hoboken Train Accident – NTSB Reports Brakes Were Not Defective at Time of Crash

November 07, 2016

The NTSB Reports Brakes Were Not Defective at Time of Crash in Hoboken Train Accident

The Hoboken train accident will take months if not years to investigate fully, but we continue to learn more each day. Approximately two weeks after the September 29, 2016, Hoboken train accident killed one person and injured more than 100 other individuals, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a preliminary report indicating that the train's brakes were not defective at the time the accident occurred.

NTSB investigators removed the brakes from the New Jersey Transit train after the accident to evaluate and test them for defects. The brakes functioned as designed, demonstrating that defective brakes are likely not to blame for this tragic train accident. However, because the train's electronic components and propulsion system were damaged in the accident, the NTSB ordered further testing on the brakes.

Could Automatic Braking Have Prevented the Hoboken Train Accident?

New Jersey Transit has not yet implemented an automatic braking system, a type of "positive train control (PTC)," which many believe may have prevented the Hoboken train accident. New Jersey lawmakers recently requested that the federal government provide $10 million to New Jersey Transit for the installation of automatic braking systems. Many people may be asking why it has taken so long to implement automatic braking systems that the NTSB has been pushing as a top safety improvement for years.

Positive train control (PTC) is not limited to automatic braking but refers to a train's ability to perform functions on its own without the need for a human to implement the function. For example, in the case of the Hoboken accident, if the transit train had an automatic braking system, the train would have slowed down to the speed limit on its own before entering Hoboken station. There would be no need to rely on the train engineer to ensure the train slowed down and came to a complete stop.

Was Human Error to Blame?

Human error is something that occurs every day, and it is not limited to situations where people make mistakes. Such error can occur when a person has a medical emergency that prevents him or her from doing something. Even though this is beyond a person's control, it is still considered human error, as it is something unique to humans that would not occur with a positive train control system.

While it is too early to know the true case of the Hoboken train accident, many people are pointing fingers at the train engineer, as he was the one person who was supposed to be in control of the train at the time of the incident. All we know now is that the train engineer, with almost thirty years of experience, woke up after the accident with no memory of how the accident happened. He recalls slowing the train down before the accident occurred, but nothing more. There may be numerous reasons why this accident occurred. Perhaps human error played a role, but it is simply too early to place blame on any possible cause at this time.

Contact Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation

Train accidents seem to be occurring more now than ever before, leaving numerous individuals severely injured or deceased. If you have suffered injuries after being involved in a train accident, or wish to discuss a loved one's injuries or death, speaking with a Georgia Train Accident Attorney may provide you with the information and guidance you need to move forward. With more than 39 years of professional experience, Montlick & Associates, is a firm that is focused on representing the rights and interests of injured clients.

If you would like to speak with one of our highly skilled Georgia Train Accident Attorneys, contact Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law today by calling (800) LAW-NEED (529-6333) to schedule your free consultation. You may also visit us online at to complete a Free Case Evaluation Form, and you may also participate in a 24-hour Live Online Chat.

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Category: Personal Injury

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