Train/Rail Accidents a Result of Aging Tracks and Failure to Make Safety Upgrades

BART Safety Issues

While public transportation is certainly good for the environment and a solution for San Francisco residents given the Bay Area traffic, it does carry its own set of risks. Deteriorating tracks present a hazard, putting many passengers at risk. According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, only about 20% of BART’s tracks have been replaced since it opened in 1972.

One of the most serious safety issues associated with weakening tracks is derailment. Concord, California has seen two derailments occur on the BART line in just five years, and both incidents were attributable to the condition of the deformed, aged track.

MUNI Light Rail System Hazards

A potential safety hazard has been identified on MUNI related to the emergency braking system. The Muni LRV’s are controlled by the Advanced Train Control System (“ATCS”), a mechanism which is designed to control the movement and speed of the trains. Trains can operate using ATCS mode without operator intervention. This system was designed by Thales, purchased by the City and installed on the Muni LRV’s in approximately July 1992.

Once the ATCS was installed, the LRV’s began to experience what are called “Timeouts” while operating in ATCS mode. Timeouts occur when there is a breakdown of communication between the Vehicle On Board Computer (“VOBC”) and the Vehicle Control Center. As a result of a timeout, the emergency braking system onboard the LRV’s is activated which results in an “Emergency Brake or EB Event”.

Activation of the emergency brakes causes the LRV’s to stop as soon as mechanically possible. Thus, during these occurrences, the LRV’s undergo sudden and abrupt halts, exposing passengers to injury. MUNI has been aware of the safety hazard posed by the high frequency of these timeouts and EB Events since 1999.

Representing Personal Injury Victims Since 1970

At Rouda Feder Tietjen & McGuinn, we are well aware of the thousands of personal injury accidents that occur each day. Our firm is committed to giving a voice to victims and their families suffering as a result of an accident caused by the negligence of another party.

Ranked in the first tier of San Francisco personal injury firms by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®, we are proven advocates for our clients. If you were recently injured and believe that someone else is at fault, don’t hesitate to contact our firm for a free and confidential consultation.