Poor Maintenance and Distracted Truck Driver Cause of Amtrak Crash
On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Motor Vehicle Accident on Monday, December 17, 2012
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released the findings of its report on the crash of a tractor-trailer truck with an Amtrak passenger train in Nevada in 2011. The truck drove through the crossing gates and past the flashing warning signals, crashed into the train, setting two cars on fire, killing the truck driver and five people on the train.
The weather was not an issue, and the NTSB concluded that truck accident was caused by the truck driver’s distraction and faulty brakes on the truck. The driver was described as having an “erratic employment history” and had more than dozen moving violations, three accidents, and lost his license due to revocation or suspension four times.
The truck, pulling two, side-dump trailers, was found to have brakes improperly maintained, with a variety of problems, including 11 of 16 brake drums worn beyond specified limits.
The NTSB found that that truck driver attempted to begin stopping when he was 300 feet from the grade crossing and was still estimated to be traveling at 26-30 mph when he struck the train.
Tests performed with similar trucks equipped with properly maintained brakes were able to stop within the same 300-distance with up to 60-feet to spare.
The truck driver had also received a call on his cell phone moments before the crash, and they NTSB speculated that the driver could have been distracted by checking his phone.
Source: National Transportation Safety Board, “Driver inattention and poorly maintained brakes on heavy truck led to collision with Amtrak train in Nevada desert,” December 11, 2012