Runaway Train Causes Embarrassment for Boston Officials
Operator error causes yet another MBTA accident
Passengers traveling just south of Boston got taken on a wild ride earlier this month when a red line MBTA train sped along for 9 minutes without the driver on board. Other commuters became aware of the runaway train after it sped through 4 stops without halting, with some terrified passengers pounding on the windows as the cars passed the stations. Fortunately, MBTA officials were able to stop the train by cutting power to the track before anyone was injured.
The interesting thing about this incident is that it shows how a few foolish actions by a transit employee can lead to a potentially dangerous situation.
According to MBTA officials, the red line trains are operated using a Cineston lever in the cab, which the driver uses to control the speed of the vehicle. When the lever is not engaged, a safety brake is supposed to be used to keep the vehicle from moving.
On the day of the runaway train incident, the driver was apparently attempting to manually put the train into bypass mode. This required him to step off the train. But because he had left the Cineston lever tied in place with a cord and had not engaged the safety brake, the train took off without him.
According to sources within the MBTA, the driver was David Vazquez, a 28-year veteran of the job. The seniority of the driver has led many to speculate that these kinds of reckless actions—which are of course prohibited by MBTA policy—may be more widespread than we know.
This is by no means the first Boston train accident to be caused by operator error. One notable example that comes to mind was the 2009 train accident which was caused by driver Aiden Quinn texting on his phone. Instead of braking safely, the distracted driver rear-ended another train. This accident did cause injuries, including trauma to one woman that was severe enough to earn her a $1.23 million settlement from the city of Boston.
Now you might be wondering what a Boston train accident has to do with personal injury victims here in Los Angeles.
The answer is that it sheds light on the fact that operator error should always be considered and investigated in the event of a transit accident. When the driver of a train or bus is in any way at fault for the accident, the city will have to be responsible for that driver’s actions, providing the possibility of full and fair compensation to any injured parties.
Of course our own transit system in LA is by no means perfect or immune to human error, so it is important to remember that if you are a passenger injured in a bus accident or train accident here in the southern California area, you are almost certainly entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced transit accident attorney like Fernando D. Vargas to determine who to target for compensation and how much to ask for.