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Safety regulations issued after train accident in Niles

Many people recall that an Amtrak train derailed last year in Niles, Michigan, resulting in injuries to 14 people. Investigators later found that the derailment was due to the train riding on the wrong track, caused by a reversed switch. In the aftermath of this train accident and a fatal accident in Illinois in which a motor vehicle crashed into an Amtrak train, federal officials are now recommending new safety protocols.

It has now been revealed that both of these accidents, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, were caused by workers not following already established safety precautions.

In each accident, signal maintenance issues were major factors, according to the NTSB. As mentioned above, in Niles the train accident was the result of a reversed switch. In the other accident, the gate arms and the warning lights were not functioning properly, apparently due to the actions of workers.

The NTSB has now issued new recommendations in order to address jumper wire use during repairs and routine maintenance.

The Federal Railroad Administration has not yet responded to the recommendations.

After train accidents, it is important that investigations are conducted to learn whether a railroad company's or another party's negligence led to the accident. It is very important that this type of information is uncovered not only so that the victims and their families can hold negligent parties accountable and obtain compensation, but also so that changes can be implemented to prevent future accidents. Those who are involved in a train accident or any type of accident with a commercial vehicle may wish to seek legal representation to learn about their rights and options.

Source: Michigan Public Radio, "NTSB issues recommendations after railroad accidents in Michigan and Illinois," March 9, 2013

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