Part One: Critical Amtrak Cascades Disaster Questions

Updated on: 10/12/2018

Questions About Human Performance Factors

These questions about how human performance factors that may have contributed to the Amtrak Cascades derailment disaster are critical to potential legal claims.  

  • Was there one engineer or a two-person engineering crew in the lead cab?
  • Was the engineer somehow incapacitated moments before the accident? 
  • Did the train engineer experience a medical event that prevented him/her from properly controlling the locomotive?
  • Was the engineer impaired in any way by alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, or any other type of impairment?
  • Is there any evidence of cell phone use by the engineer during the trip and/or before the accident?
  • Does Amtrak Cascades have a policy banning the use of distracting electronic devices by crew members?
  • Was the engineer actively operating the train at the time of the accident?
  • Was the engineer's attention diverted for some reason before or during the accident?  What was his situational awareness?
  • Did the Amtrak engineer accelerate the train without slowing to successfully negotiate the turn? 
  • How much training had the engineer received for this model locomotive?
  • Had the engineer driven this new route before today?   If so, how many hours of operational experience?
  • Did the engineer have any training on preventative measures to avoid speed-related accidents?
  • When was the last time the engineer attended any safety refresher courses?
  • Were all Amtrak Cascades employees properly trained as defined by the Amtrak Service Standards Manual for Train Service and On-Board Service Employees?  
  • Did all crew receive the required Emergency Preparedness Training?
  • Had all tenured crew complete their refresher training prior to the end of every two-year period? 
  • Prior to departure, did the operator perform a cab check and a functional brake system check? 
  • Did the operator perform an inspection of the cab lights, gauges and system indicators prior to departure?
  • Did the operator verify that all bypass and cut-out switches were in the normal position and property sealed?
  • Did the operator apply the emergency braking device?
  • How often do supervisors conduct spot checks to ensure that all policies and procedures were being followed?

For more detailed information about the disaster, read AMTRAK CASCADES DERAILMENT DISASTER: A Legal Guide For Accident Victims/Survivors by the Amtrak train accident attorney team at Davis Law Group.  

Chris Davis
Attorney Chris Davis is the founder of Seattle-based Davis Law Group, P.S.
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