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Is WMATA's SafeTrack Program Improving Safety?

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 19-May-2017

On April 27th, reports of smoke shut down the Red Line along Farragut North and Judiciary Square. Emergency crews discovered an old rail fastener had created an electrical arc. This is one of a dozen DC Metro fire incidents this year.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) launched its SafeTrack program last summer to prevent these types of incidents from occurring. SafeTrack is a year-long series of projects that will attempt to upgrade and improve the safety of DC Metro rail lines. However, a recent report released by the Metro Board’s Safety Committee shows the rail lines still suffer from safety problems.

According to the report, there were 20 fires on DC Metro rail lines in the first three months of 2017. The report claims 12 of these incidents were caused by arcing. By comparison, there were 11 arcing incidents in the first three months of 2016.

Why Are DC Metro Arcing Incidents Dangerous for Passengers?

Arcing occurs when electricity escapes is normal path, such as a cable used on the rail line. This phenomenon can produce large amounts of heat and smoke that may fill tunnels. On January 12th, 2015, an electrical arc filled a tunnel south of L’Enfant Plaza Station with smoke. Passengers caught on a train during the incident were stuck for 35-minutes in a smoke-filled tunnel. It was later discovered that fans designed to ventilate the tunnel had failed to perform as designed. As a result, one woman lost her life and an additional 86 passengers suffered injuries. WMATA knew its ventilation fans needed upgrades before the incident occurred.

The Washington DC personal injury attorneys at Regan Zambri Long, PLLC have a proven record of taking on DC Metro. Our attorneys will help victims injured by negligence hold businesses accountable.

Categories: WMATA
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