The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the operator of the train had previously fallen asleep at the controls.
On Monday, March 24, a Chicago Transit Authority Train crashed through a “bumping post” and climbed to the top of an escalator at O’Hare International Airport. At this point it appears that all the safety regulations were followed and that the automatic systems meant to prevent this type of accident did kick in as they were supposed to. Investigators are trying to determine if the driver dozed off just prior to the crash.
Fatigue is believed to be behind the crash. The driver was only six hours into her shift, and had just come off of a 17 hour break when she started her shift, but admitted to being very tired.
What is puzzling is why the automated systems were unable to stop the crash. The train was not speeding when it entered the station at about 25 or 26 mph. An automatic stopping device was triggered and the emergency brakes were applied.
Investigators are trying to determine if striking the bumping post may have jarred the dozing driver forward with her hand on the control, causing the train to accelerate as it hit the escalator.
Although 32 people were injured, the outcome could have been far worse. The accident occurred at about 2:50 a.m., a time when the station is not very busy. There were no fatalities and no life-threatening injuries. Had an accident like this happened at a busier time of day the result could have been mass carnage.
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