There is traffic of all kinds in New York, and lots of it. In terms of accidents, taxi or truck collisions may come to mind. However, many people who work in the city travel by commuter trains.
One particularly horrendous crash in 2016 has left commuters feeling uneasy about train transit — and yet, they have few options or no options at all.
A flying train
In a crash reminiscent of the spectacular ending to the movie “Silver Streak,” a packed rush-hour train slammed into the Hoboken Terminal on an otherwise ordinary September morning for commuters. The train powered through a concrete bumper block and along the concourse, taking down structural supports and causing a section of the terminal’s roof to collapse. One person who was standing on the platform died and more than 100 passengers and crewmembers suffered injuries, some seriously.
Some of the passengers escaped from the train by breaking through the emergency windows. Others pried open the doors to get out. Witnesses told of seeing people with terrible injuries, including a man who had lost his eye and a woman whose leg was split open. Rescue workers arrived on the scene and worked for much of the morning to free passengers still trapped in the wreckage. Paramedics took those who had the most serious to Jersey City Medical Center, where the staff converted the cafeteria to a triage area.
Investigating the cause
The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that the probable cause of the crash was human error: The engineer had severe untreated sleep apnea. He felt fatigued and failed to stop the train. In addition, there was no safety system in place that could have intervened.
Multiple responsible parties
A personal injury attorney who deals with commercial crashes will tell you that in a lawsuit for damages, multiple parties might be liable for injuries sustained by the victim of a mass transit accident. In New York City and surrounding areas, accidents happen every day, and people are mindful of the possibility for physical harm. When an incident as unusual and horrific as the commuter train crash at the Hoboken Terminal occurs, concerned travelers will not forget it any time soon.