The MBTA estimates that more than 1.2 million people utilize MBTA services on a typical weekday. Across the United States, there are hundreds of railroads and hundreds of thousands miles of train tracks. As the popularity of train travel continues, so too do train accidents. There are nearly 12,000 train accidents each year. Accidents can be caused by a number of different factors, including train operator negligence, faulty mechanics, weather or other factors completely beyond the MBTA’s control. When accidents do occur, the consequences can be devastating. Injuries range from minor cuts and bruises, to broken bones, to wrongful death.
An Amtrak train in North Carolina recently collided with an oversized rig that had been caught in the tracks. According to ABC News, John Devin Black was driving the rig truck for Guy M. Turner Inc., a company that specializes in moving oversized, heavy equipment. Apparently, the driver was attempting to navigate a tight turn along the tracks, with a load nearly sixteen feet wide and tall, 164 feet long and weighing in at 127 tons. The crash derailed the Amtrak train and injured fifty-five passengers. Some spectators are saying this crash was completely avoidable, and that Black never should have been operating the rig in the first place.
Black is a convicted felon with a long history of traffic citations including speeding and driving with a revoked license on multiple occasions. Although federal regulations require motor carriers to conduct background checks before hiring drivers, companies are afforded wide discretion. Legally, the company was permitted to hire Black despite his deplorable driving record and criminal history. The truck company is refusing to comment on the crash.