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Is Metro Serious About Safety?

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 29-Jul-2010

Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner

In an excellent article by Robert McCartney, published in the Washington Post today, Mr. McCartney notes that "the NTSB took pains in its admirable report to emphasize two messages that weren’t about money at all. First, the Red Line crash, like some previous Metro accidents, was directly attributable to what the NTSB labeled an ‘anemic safety culture’". He suggests that "Metro must undergo a top-to-bottom overhaul of its institutional habits and mind-set so that everyone places a higher priority on safety."

As National Traffic Safety Board Chairperson Deborah Hersman stated, "When safety is more important than schedules, their organizational culture can be a success." If profits are put about safety, bad things will happen. Very bad things.

As Mr. McCartney points out, based on the NTSB report, "Metro comes up short in virtually every category" related to safety. With respect to the tragic crash that took place in June of 2009, signs of danger were simply ignored, according to the report. Mr. McCartney comments that "it emerged at Tuesday’s hearing that workers were ignoring thousands of alarms a week triggered by the faulty signaling devices, known as track circuit modules. The attitude was: The machines don’t work, but there haven’t been any crashes, so why worry?"The answer should have been simple: because people will be seriously injured and killed if the problem is not fixed.

"Metro’s deep cultural problems suggest that the next general manager needs to be a powerful change agent," says Mr. McCartney. He’s right.

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About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners. His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA. Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2010)–a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

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