What Is New Jersey Transit's Safety Record? The Hoboken Train Crash Has Commuters Concerned
Following a deadly train crash in Hoboken, New Jersey, many concerned commuters are curious about the New Jersey Transit's safety record. On Thursday, Sept. 29, The New York Daily News reported that a train crashed into the New Jersey Transit Hoboken station. According to NBC, the Northern New Jersey terminal crash resulted in at least one fatality and over 100 people injured. NJ Transit is still reeling from an early morning commuter bus crash in Newark that reportedly killed one passenger, the driver, and resulted in several other critical injuries on Aug. 19. Despite these recent issues, the NJ Transit has been deemed safe, and its workers are deeply committed to protecting against the dangers of trains.
It's been five years since the last train crash in the busy Hoboken Terminal. In 2011, a PATH train collision due to a mechanical error with the brakes injured 34 commuters. A 2015 safety report commissioned by NJ Transit found that while workers take safety seriously, there is much room for improvement. NorthJersey.com reports, "Investigators found that the NJ Transit office dedicated to protecting customers and workers was understaffed and overwhelmed, a belief shared by the majority of workers." One NJ Transit employee suggested that the safety department should have double the staff.
NJ Transit has released an official statement on the crash.
Train #1614 which originated in Spring Valley, New York, had an expected arrival time 8:38 a.m., however the train seems to have been running late. Pressure to maintain an on-time performance has contributed to accidents in the past, such as the Metro North train derailment in 2013. Reports of what caused the accident are still forthcoming, and it is unknown whether the train delay played a part in the collision. Some NJ Transit workers have stated that priorities are not in check when it comes to maintaining the train schedule and safety. According to the 2015 safety report, many employees concurred that, “On Time Performance pressure degrades from the Safety Culture.”
One passenger, Nancy Bido, told NBC New York that she felt like the train was "going really too fast." The following investigation will focus on why the train didn't slow down when approaching the station. "The event recorder's going to tell us what the engineer was doing as he approached that station," former NTSB board member, John Goglia told NBC. "We will be able to tell if he in fact slowed down, if he applied brakes, and how much he applied." Initial observations made by law enforcement found no signs that the train crash was terror related or caused by a deliberate act.
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