The investigation into the Metro crash on Monday which killed 9 and injured 80 is still in its early stages, but certain clues are being found. Investigators now think that the train operator did apply an emergency brake approximately 400 feet prior to impact. Officials are investigating why the operator did not already know a train was stopped ahead. One of six circuits in the area around the crash which would alert the operator of track information such as upcoming trains and appropriate speeds seems to be functioning improperly. More investigation is underway.
One thing is becoming increasingly clear, however – this tragic accident is due in no small part to the Metro’s decision to ignore National Transportation Safety Board recommendations – including scrapping the outdated train responsible for the crash and the others of its model in favor of newer, safer models. Mayor Adrian Fenty has argued that the entirety of blame should fall on local officials. Saving lives from substantial risk is far more important than financial considerations. This is one lesson that railroad companies of all sorts in all places need to take heed of.