According to an article recently published by the Chicago Tribune, a federal investigation into the cause of the CTA train crash continues, and is focusing on whether the train's operator fell asleep at the controls when the incident occurred. The investigation will also look into whether the train's automatic braking system was functioning properly and if that was also a contributing cause to the crash. The accident, which occurred March 24th, was the result of a derailed train car that ended up resting on top of an escalator.
Operator May Have Fallen Asleep
There is some indication that the train car's operator may have fallen asleep before the train careened through a bumping post at the end of the track. The incident occurred at O'Hare International Airport at approximately 3:00 a.m. The operator reported after the crash that she had been tired, which was later confirmed by Transit Union representatives and there are indications she may have fallen asleep as a result.
Although it had been made known that the driver does regularly work overtime, she was off duty for about 17 hours before starting the shift during which the crash occurred. As a part of their investigation, authorities are expected to look into the driver's work schedule as well as her activities in the week leading up to the crash, her medical background, and whether she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Driver exhaustion is not the only issue related to the crash being investigated. Others include the train's speed as it entered the station and the functioning of the train's safety control system. The train's momentum was great enough at the time of the crash that it traveled through a barrier put in place to stop trains at the end of the line, before jumping the platform, and climbing to the top of a nearby escalator. There is some speculation the the bumping post actually acted as a catapult launching it off the track, and could have caused the operator to inadvertently send power to the train, causing it to accelerate forward.
Amazingly, there have been no fatalities reported as a result of the accident, although over 30 people were injured as a result. If the accident occurred at another time of day, the result could have been infinitely worse.
The service to O'Hare will be on pause pending the investigation. Authorities will study the crash site and determine how to remove the wreckage. the CTA has not released a date of reopening. The train itself is still perched on top of the escalator where it came to rest after the accident, and will remain so until investigators are satisfied they have examined it properly and determined its speed prior to the incident.
While the exact cause of the investigation is still pending, it is possible that the crash occurred as the result of driver negligence or a system malfunction, or possibly both. Fortunately, the crash did not result in any fatal injuries. However, those injured may still have important legal rights.If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident in the greater Chicago area, it is advisable to consult an attorney as soon as possible. The dedicated lawyers at Mevorah Law Offices LLC can listen to the facts of your case and advise you of your rights. Contact us today.
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