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NTSB investigation in the deadly Metro North train accident indicates that the train operator suffered severe undiagnosed sleep apnea and that he had fallen asleep when the train hit the curb at a speed of 82 mph instead of the 30 mph speed limit

The Metro North Train accident that killed 4 people and injured at least 61 on December 1st 2013 was caused by the engineer’s noncompliance with the 30-mph speed restriction because he had fallen asleep due to undiagnosed severe obstructive sleep apnea exacerbated by a recent circadian rhythm shift required by his work schedule.
According to a report released Today by the National Transportation Safety Board, the accident could have been avoided if Metro North and the Federal Railroad Administration had a policy requiring medical screening for sleep disorders and if the train was equipped with a system that would have automatically applied the brakes to enforce the speed restriction.

The NTSB also released Today the following Metro North train accident reports:

  • A report on the March 10, 2014 train accident during which an electrician was fatally struck by a train in Manhattan, New York
  • A report on the July 18,2013 accident during which a train transporting municipal refuse derailed in the Bronx, New York
  • A report on the May 28, 2013 accident during which a track foreman was struck and killed by a train in West Haven, Connecticut
  • A report on the May 17, 2013 accident during which two trains collided, injuring at least 65 passengers in Bridgeport, Connecticut

Picture: National Transportation Safety Board