Submitted on Fri, 06/19/2015 - 4:33pm
By Ron Kaminkow - Labor Notes, June 16, 2015
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.
The news media have been full of speculation about what caused an Amtrak train to derail east of Philadelphia on May 12, killing at least eight people and injuring hundreds.
Train #188, operated by lone engineer Brandon Bostian, entered a curve with a speed limit of 50 miles per hour, at over 100.
Was this excessive speed the result of fatigue, inattentiveness, a projectile that hit the train (and possibly the engineer), or some other factor? The investigation may eventually pinpoint the cause—or we may never know.
But we do know this: had there been a second crew member in the cab, it’s very likely that person would have taken action to prevent the tragedy when, for whatever reason, the engineer at the controls could not.
And blaming a worker just distracts the public from eliminating the real hazards. There exists simple, affordable technology that Amtrak could and should have implemented years ago—which could have prevented this terrible wreck.