Americans are surrounded by smart technology, from our phones and TVs to automobile safety features and home security. As such, you might not be surprised to know that these advancements have made their way to the railroad transportation sector. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported on some recent developments, which include a $26 billion annual investment in smart trains by companies and governments globally. The point is to enhance safety through technology, so these measures are welcome in Florida, which ranks sixth in terms of US railroad accidents.
Still, despite enormous investment to make trains smarter, accidents will remain a threat. You should discuss your circumstances with a Miami personal injury lawyer if you were hurt or lost a loved one, since you could qualify to recover compensation for your losses. It is also interesting to learn about the technology that shows promise in reducing the risk of collisions.
Train Accident Statistics
Railway companies and technology developers rely on statistics when developing smart train features, since the data uncovers problems, risk factors, and other areas for potential improvement. Some notable figures include:
- Approximately 27% of all train crashes are linked to some obstacle or issue with the tracks.
- Defective equipment is a factor that contributes to 14% of train collisions.
- Carelessness and human error cause the highest percentage of train accidents in the US, at 41%.
- Of the 462 train crashes that occurred in Florida from 2014-2018, 16% caused at least one fatality and 25% resulted in injury. During this time period, there were 76 train deaths along the Brightline rail service between Miami and Jacksonville, FL.
How Smart Train Technology Can Reduce Accidents
These solutions implement a series of sensors, cameras, a communications network, and computer software, which give operators a real-time view of the locomotive, train cars, and tracks. Advancements enable almost immediate detection of potential issues, so crews can get started with repairs asap. Smart train technology also incorporates a rail traffic management system, to ensure smooth track transitions and reduce train-automobile collisions at crossings.
However, despite the innovations in smart rail technology, there are limitations. For instance:
- With every advancement comes the need to train a slew of employees, from the conductor and maintenance crew aboard the train to personnel at stations and traffic management centers.
- An outage in the communications network may put the entire system or important components off-line.
- Sensors and cameras may fail, disrupting the smooth operation of smart train technology.
- There are still motorists who will drive around gates at crossings or cross the tracks despite flashing lights.
Contact a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer to Learn About Your Options
Even if smart train technology does reach its full potential in the future, you can see that advancements cannot completely prevent accidents. You will need experienced representation to obtain the monetary damages you deserve, and our team at Gerson & Schwartz, PA can explain the process. Please contact our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL today to set up a no-cost case evaluation.