Yet again another preventable tragedy shakes the nation.
On Thursday morning, September 29th, a New Jersey train had derailed killing 34 year old Hoboken woman Fabiola Bittar de Kroon and injuring at least 100 more. It was like a scene from an action movie. Onlookers at Hoboken train station said that the train was going way too fast, it overran its stopping point, hit a bumper block and then flew through a passenger concourse.
Fabiola Bittar de Koon courtesy globalnews.ca/news
The train in question was a part of the New Jersey Transit system which was under an audit during the time that this crash took place. The transit system has had a history of safety violations and the railroad administration was and is seeking much corrective action against the New Jersey Transit system.
Though the reason behind this specific crash remains a mystery, many of the corrections taken against the New Jersey Transit system were including a prohibition bill written by 55th New Jersey Governor Chris Christie which said that New Jersey transit operators’ driving privileges will be suspended or revoked if the said operator had convictions of driving under the influence of alcohol, other drugs, or anything thereby related.
Now, as someone who often depends on public transportation, I feel that something like this could have been prevented. I have been riding on busses and trains for years and have been quite grateful for I have not had to see first hand anything like this. These 100 plus people had to call work to say “I am not coming in today, the train station pretty much exploded”. And the aforementioned Bittar de Kroon’s family had to receive the devastating news that she will never go back to work and more importantly, she will never be able to go back home to be with her family.
The thing that really gets me though is that this is not the first time that something like this happened at the Hoboken train station. Back in May 2011. There was another crash at this same station and during that crash, the train just barreled head- on into the bumper block injuring about 40 people. Though there was no derailment, this is still proof of a series of accidents that have been taking place at the Hoboken station.
A reason behind this tragedy could just be neglect of the system. The office of New Jersey Transit Executive director has been tossed about like a volleyball which has made it so that their board of directors has not met in months! And to add insult to injury, proper funding to the system has been at a consistent shortfall. Now, no wonder they were getting audited!
Positive train control technology is a combination of gps, wireless radio, and computers which aids in the monitoring of trains. It has been known to help prevent collisions, derailing, and other train safety issues and it has been brought up to Governor Christie, but he is still uncertain whether or not it would have affected the outcome of this event.
For good reason, the New Jersey Transit train lines are suspended and will be so indefinitely. Maybe this time the transit system learned a thing or two to prevent this from happening again like it has happened in the past. Maybe if the positive train control tech was implemented, this could be prevented. All that I know is that if the board of directors met as often as they should and if proper funding came in and if each of their operators were better trained in safety, then New Jersey would have emptier hospitals and drier eyes.
Featured Image Courtesy of abc7ny.com/news