Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC
It used to take a whole team to safely guide a train to its intended location and back again. This is not surprising, since such a massive vehicle really needs efficient monitoring to avoid a train accident. However, railroad companies are proposing that instead of a team, a single person will be in charge of guiding a train. The proposal has certainly raised eyebrows and questioned the wisdom of trading supposed efficiency for safety.
Many Ohio readers may not know this, but guiding a train used to be a job for a five-man crew: an engineer, a conductor, two brakemen and a fireman. Nonetheless, technological advances reduced the team down to three people. New union contracts then made it a two-man crew. Now, the safety of a train may rely on just one man.
An Ohio engineer is seriously concerned about the proposal. He observed that whenever he is at the controls, safety is always on his mind. He likened a train to a string of 15,000 cars and that a simple miscalculation could have catastrophic results. This is especially true if a train carries passengers or hazardous chemicals. The proposal believes that technology will carry the weight of safety, thereby allowing one person to man a train. A rail expert remarked that no machine or piece of technology can make up for a person’s expertise.
Whether the new proposal gets approved or not, safety should always be the top priority for railroad companies. This not only goes for trains carrying cargo, but especially for trains that carry passengers. A mass transit accident often results in serious injuries. If an investigation shows that it was caused by negligence, an Ohio accident victim can hold a driver or the company legally responsible. A victim’s surviving family can do the same, if the accident led to a loved one’s death.