Whether you take a train as part of your morning commute to work or you want to travel for pleasure, you should take appropriate steps to remain safe during your train ride. Many people travel on trains without incident, but as the 2017 Amtrak derailment has shown the residents of Washington, a deadly train accident can happen without warning.
The truth is that many trains do not have the equipment that other vehicles like planes and cars have to protect passengers during a collision. A report by the New York Times explains trains such as Amtrak lack certain safety features that could prevent injury or death.
Inadequate seat belts
Many Amtrak passengers lack lap shoulder seat belts for their seats. Without a strong seat belt to restrain you, a sudden impact could propel you out of your seat. A collision or derailment could throw you to the floor, against a wall or window, or into another passenger. In past train accidents, passengers have suffered bone fractures and trauma as a result.
Airplanes keep overhead luggage secured in a latched compartment, but this is not the case for many trains. Amtrak generally equips their luggage compartments with a shallow edge and a railing. Unfortunately, this is often not enough to keep luggage from falling out or flying from a compartment when a train derails or collides with another train or vehicle.
The New York Times has also identified large side train windows as a point of weakness. On trains such as Amtrak trains, rubber grommets secure the windows. However, this is not enough to keep the windows in place during a train derailment or collision. In recent train accidents, large windows would pop off, leaving nothing to hold passengers in their cars. Train impacts would throw passengers out of their cars, resulting in serious injury or death.