Deadly Metro-North Derailment Should Have Been Avoided

Breanna Quod, Reporter

A Manhattan-bound Metro-North passenger train derailment in the Bronx caused four deaths and a dozen injuries on December 1.

The Metro-North train that crashed was not equipped with an alerter, but it did have a “dead man’s pedal” which most railroads have. A dead man’s pedal is a pedal that is automatically operated if the human operator is incapacitated through death, loss of consciousness or being physically removed from control.

“If the train had the alerter, then the alertness of the engineer according to the dead man’s switch would have been monitored,” said Jean Piarulli, a conductor for the LIRR. “The death of four people and many injuries could have been prevented just by paying a few hundred dollars.”

This engineer, William Rockefeller, also might have/have had sleep apnea, a condition that affects the overweight to not have the proper amount of hours of sleep the individual needs. He gained an extra 30 pounds in the last two months probably prior to this condition, according to the New York Post.

It was already proved that he was not intoxicated while driving the train, and he was not texting. The crash was accidental. And for that Rockefeller was suspended from his job without pay. Is this punishment fair? The engineer profession is indeed a very difficult and significant job that can put hundreds of people’s lives at risk, so shouldn’t the engineer be at perfect health before performing his/her duties? If the engineer is not well, shouldn’t the others who work with this person notice?

He will probably carry this mistake on his conscience for the rest of his life…so is it really necessary that the media exposes all of his personal issues and life to the world? No—and Metro-North should have been more responsible and should have taken that extra step to advance their technology, help their employees and better protect their passengers. The train truly was not as advanced as it should have been. Metro-North should be getting the criticism and scrutiny rather than William Rockefeller.