Amtrak engineer may have been distracted

Emergency brake was not deployed prior to the derailment over I-5 in Washington

December 20, 2017
NTSB

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be looking at driver distraction as a possible cause to the Amtrak 501 derailment over I-5 near Tacoma, Wash.

Badly damaged cameras were recovered from the engineer’s cab and have been sent to the NTSB’s laboratory in Washington, D.C. It appears the train may have taken a 30-mph curve at 80 mph, and since the emergency brake was not deployed before the derailment the NTSB believes the engineer failed to perceive the danger because he might have been distracted by a cellphone or another person. A data recorder was recovered at the scene, which indicated the train was traveling too fast.

The NTSB said there was a second person in the cab, “a conductor who was getting experience and familiarizing himself with the territory.” All of the crew members were still in the hospital on Wednesday and had yet to be interviewed.

Officials also have not ruled out the fact that the track had only recently been improved for high-speed travel, and could also be a cause of the accident. Amtrak 501 was on its maiden voyage on the track. 

Related Articles

The funding from the recently signed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) will integrate well into the South Carolina DOT's (SCDOT) 10-Year…
November 23, 2021
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg today announced that the Biden Administration will invest nearly $1 billion in infrastructure through…
November 19, 2021
Voters in 17 states Nov. 2 approved 89% of 275 state and local ballot initiatives aimed at boosting transportation investment, according to the …
November 05, 2021
Ohio DOT to move forward with overpass safety project in Hancock County
Image: Ohio DOT
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 1 and the Hancock County Engineer's Office will move forward with the design of a project to…
November 02, 2021
expand_less