A week has passed since eight passengers died and more than 200 were injured when Amtrak Train 188 veered off the railroad tracks just north of Philadelphia. Federal officials were quick to launch investigations into the nature of the crash, and are currently working to discover who or what was responsible for the tragic accident.
As thorough and effective as government investigations may be, details can sometimes be overlooked or remain hidden. In cases like this, Lopez McHugh believes in the public’s right to know what happened, and in the benefits to multiple independent investigations. For instance, outside investigation by a determined Georgia attorney was crucial in uncovering the GM ignition switch defect, which was responsible for multiple deaths. The attorney investigation was a key development in holding GM accountable for the hundreds of car accidents caused by the defect.
Lopez McHugh believes that the public will benefit from independent investigations into the Amtrak Train 188 crash. To this end, the firm has issued Freedom of Information Act (or FOIA) requests to gather additional details about monitoring and training of employees and track inspection and repair. The potential fault behind this accident lies not only with the U.S. government, but also with safety system designers, rail maintenance companies, Amtrak trainers and monitors, and other parties. By learning about what are likely multiple causes of the crash, those responsible can develop systems to address those causes and improve rail safety.
Thus far, Lopez McHugh has sent requests for information regarding the training and supervision of employees, the schedule and operation of train and track repairs, discussions and plans involving “positive train control,” and other key issues directed to the Federal Railroad Administration. Additional requests are being drafted to the Federal Transit Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
We offer our condolences to the friends and family of the victims and will continue to hold those affected by the accident in our thoughts.