Please write a response to each student disscussion. You need to respond to two students&; initial posts, and each of these responses should be at least 150 words.
ANTHONY WROTE: It is my opinion that it absolutely could have been avoided. The crash was caused due to the inattentiveness of the driver, Robert Sanchez. Richard Sanchez seems to have several issues, both personally and professionally that added to the culmination of events on a fateful day, Friday, September 12, 2008. The Metrolink, with Mr. Sanchez at the controls, not only did not follow procedure on several occasions over the hour and twenty-two minutes it took for train 111 to leave the station and collide with the Union Pacific freight train. This fateful day Mr. Sanchez, possibly tired from working split shifts, neglected proper procedures associated with safety. The first failure was not calling dispatch to call out the yellow light indicating he should prepare to stop, received a text even though cell phone use was against policy. Then he passed a red signal, again failing to radio in the stop signal, and did not stop. Seconds later he replied to the text as the train passed over a switch meant for an oncoming train, which put the Metrolink 111 on the same tracks as the Union Pacific (Steiner, 2012).While the accident could have been avoided at that point with the current regulations and safety standards in place the only person that could have changed the outcome of the collision was Robert Sanchez.
Is the high cost of train control justified by the likely safety gains for passengers?
This is a hard question to answer. Although the number of railway accidents that resulted in passenger deaths is only a small percentage of the total number of deaths, there is no monetary value that can be given to a human life. However, if the government wants to invest the money into all of the research, why don’t they just put the money towards the ECP brakes? So in my opinion, put the brakes into action if the money is going to be spent one way or the other! Save as many lives as possible. Ultimately, this is where government regulation is demanded due to the safety controls that could be implemented to save lives in the future. Federal rules and regulations prevent greedy owners from shortcutting safety procedures to raise net gains. I am of the opinion that if the technology is available then the train companies should be obligated to have it implemented in daily operations. Aside from a profit, an organization’s first priority is to ensure the safety of their customers. Paying any monetary cost to preserve life is the ethical standard that all train companies should establish.
Is the money spent to regulate railroad safety being spent in the most efficient way to reduce the risks of death and injury in society?
The government has slowly been implementing new regulations into the railroad system that has helped. However, I don’t think the money being spent is the most efficient way to reduce deaths. However, living in New York I have personally experienced a massive failure in the MTA. The 2019 executive budget allots $429 million towards the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $836 action plan that’s aimed at addressing both immediate and long-term issues with the subway, such as signal malfunctions and track maintenance. (Rosenberg, 2018) So unless the cost of train control goes in the right areas, it definitely justifies the safety.
If you had been a lobbyist wishing to influence safety legislation after the crash, what would your strategy have been?
As a lobbyist, assuming for Metrolink, I would attempt to present an alternate regulation that would prevent major train companies to invest billions of dollars in PTC and new braking systems. The focus would primarily be spent on gathering data that proves the latest technological measures, combined with up-to-date safety measures, creates the ability for the locomotive industry more efficient, profitable, and decreases the risks of accidents. These proposals are concepts that would have little opposition and likely get significant support from both government and the railroad. Making these small changes could potentially make significant strides in safety with low cost and little policy debate.
BRIDGET WROTE: The Metrolink accident happened on September 12, 2008. Robert Sanchez was the engineer operating the diesel-electric locomotive and 3 passenger cars on a commuter route out of Union Station. This accident involved a freight train traveling on the same line towards the passenger train. This was a major accident for the railroad industry, killing 23 passengers including the 2 engineers of both trains.
The national transportation safety board (NTSB) was called in to investigate this tragic accident. After a thorough investigation including autopsy results, personnel files and character interviews, NTSB concluded the “probable cause of the collision was Sanchez’s inattention to the red signal light because of texting in violation of company rules distracted him” (Steiner, J.). Further findings showed the engineer of the freight train had marijuana in his system and the engineer of the passenger train had “adult-onset diabetes, high blood pressure, and an enlarged heart” (Steiner, J.). Neither of the men’s health came in question with the cause of the accident. A major bit of important information was the professional misconduct of Sanchez. Sanchez (Metrolink’s engineer) was using his phone numerous times and not following proper safety protocol when passing yellow and red lights. Sanchez did not stop the train when the signals told him the track was not clear for him, more than likely because he was distracted.
I do believe this accident could have been avoided on many different levels. Had there have been stricter disciplinary action for employees not following safety procedures working for Connex and Metrolink, Sanchez may have made better decisions, not been working for the company, or in a position with the safety of passengers in his hand. I also think there should have already been positive train controls installed within the rails and the trains in order to be able to stop a train from inside the control center, preventing accidents when engineers miss a signal. The FRA conducted their benefit-cost study, they showed updating the railroads to meet the new regulations congress placed on the industry with an absolute deadline of 2015 was extremely costly, but then the question that comes into play is ‘how much is a life really worth to the industry’.?!
After this railroad accident, NTSB put positive train controls at the “top of the most wanted list”, again. In 1990 the FRA showed a cost analysis of “the cost of the controls far outweighed the safety benefits”. After the accident of 2009, an analysis was done again to evaluate the benefit-cost ratio… this regulation was going to be a costly one the railroad industry could not get away from this time.
I do think the high cost of train control is justified by the safety gained for the passengers and the employees operating and working on the trains. Our railways are over 150 years old and modifications and updates are necessary! This safety regulation for the industry is absolutely necessary to stay up to date with safety protocols. It is like seatbelts and airbags in an automobile. A safety that we don’ t underestimate and we look to for our protection. This extra expense helps to guarantee a safe trip to passengers.
In reality, when a railroad has an accident, there is usually a lawsuit that follows for wrongful-death awarding families millions of dollars… It is my belief that the new regulations of cameras in the operators’ area, black boxes and the ability to stop a train from a centralized area are all preventative measures to minimize railroad accidents (both for passengers, employees and drivers).
I do not think the money spent to regulate railroad safety is the most effective way to reduce the risk of deaths and injuries in society. While I think the regulation put on the industry were definitely needed, there is nothing being done about the railroad crossings. It was said in the reading that there have been between 700-950 fatalities from railroad accident over the past decade. Of those only 85 of those deaths have been passengers on (in) trains. The some were trespassers who ride the trains or enter the track corridors…a majority were motorists hit at railroad crossings. This new regulation does nothing to protect the railroad crossings. There should be heavier mandates the safety of the railroad crossings. This seems to be a bigger problem area that needs to be addressed also by the industry.
I would have used the strategy of showing the lack of discipline the industry has for their employees who hold people’s lives in their hands. The lack of professionalism when doing their job transporting passengers and freight, ie cell phone use, marijuana in system when working, lack of following safety protocols like radioing in yellow and red signals. Then I would go after the company for their analysis of benefits versus cost, you can not put a price tag on a life lost… no passenger signs a waiver or sees a sign “ride at your own risk”, these are assumed responsibilities the railroad industry has when offering this service (commuter trains). I would also go over the safety of the railroad crossings… drivers put themselves and those on trains in jeopardy every time they do not follow the railroad crossing signs.
WRITE 150 WORDS FOR BOTH.
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