Earlier this month, a derailed train presented a major traffic obstacle in the Avondale shipyard area of New Orleans, just below the Mississippi River, and above and to the west of Highway 90. Times-Picayune coverage from February 4 shows both lanes of Highway 18 closed for several hours when a series of train cars became unmoored from their railings. According to reporting, the incident happened in the middle of the night, and was eventually cleared around eight o’clock in the morning.
There were a number of positive aspects to this unfortunate accident. The transportation department confirmed the train was not carrying hazardous materials. Photo footage of the accident shows train cars remaining upright, though considerably off of their tracks. The photos also show, however, that the entire roadway was blocked in both directions. This kind of situation in itself can cause major problems around how officials clear the accident without further injury or damage, and whether workers are exposed to danger while in the process.
Because we don’t often hear about rail transit emergencies, we tend to underestimate their impact. Any kind of public transit system or cargo system involving trains needs to be fully evaluated and outfitted with safety technology, not just crossing gear, but monitoring systems and protocols that can prevent some kinds of accidents.
As rail transit becomes more a part of our public dialogue around transportation, this safety becomes even more important. For example, take Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s theoretical design of a ‘hyperloop’ high speed guided transit system. A safety-oriented professional, for example, a New Orleans personal injury attorney or a public safety engineer, might ask themselves if it’s really feasible for passengers to travel at something like 700 mph.
Even with existing public rail systems, proper safety precautions need to be in place. Some of these will be obvious to transit or rail transport managers; others will involve some controversy. Managers need to be sure that their systems meet or exceed industry standards to keep from being liable in a personal injury case.
Derailed trains are extremely dangerous, not just for passengers, but for drivers in the vicinity. Sudden traffic changes can result in even more accidents in the local area. A New Orleans personal injury attorney assessing injuries from this kind of local accident will look at factors involving the junction of public roadways and rail transit infrastructure.
Business can’t leave safety to chance, and even minor details need to be carefully analyzed to prevent avoidable tragedy. If you or a loved one was harmed in a traffic accident or some other kind of public accident, and suffers an injury as a result, talk to an experienced New Orleans personal injury attorney: the offices of Lavis Law can help you figure out how to put together a personal injury case and seek compensation for all of the costs and hardships you face in recovery.