BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An Amtrak train went off an overpass near Seattle, and spilling its cars onto the highway below, killing three people and injuring more than 100.
Investigators will now be looking into the safety technology called positive train control, and if it could have made a difference.
Maryland lawmakers have pushed for the upgrade here in the state.
Maryland is along the busy northeast corridor, and after a deadly derailment just north of us in Philadelphia in 2015, there has been a push to install this technology here and across the country.
Amtrak train 501 was on its inaugural run when it crashed Monday.
An NTSB team is expected to analyze if a technology called “positive train control” would have made a difference.
The system is supposed to recognize when a train is going too fast and slow it down.
But Peter Greenberg, a CBS News analyst, says Amtrak has had problems with implementing the system.
“This is something that Congress mandated. Amtrak put in their trains two years ago and they never make their deadline,” he said.
In May 2015, an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia.
Investigators say it was going two times it speed limit around a sharp curve.
Eight people died, and more than 200 were hurt.
Investigators concluded that positive train control could have made a difference, but it was not installed on that stretch of tracks.
Earlier this year, Maryland lawmakers proudly announced a $9 million grant to install the technology on 77 miles of MARC train tracks from Perryville, through Baltimore, to D.C.
But Representative Dutch Ruppersberger says there’s room for improvement.
“It’s something that we have in our new cars. Technology that helps the car slow down, will warn you, and it’s evident that this is needed in the United States of America generally,” Ruppersberger said. “Whether it’s in a rural area or urban area, if you are going too fast, you don’t make a curve, the train could crash.”
The federal government set a December 2018 deadline for MTA to implement this technology, and officials at MTA say they can make that deadline.