The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

December 4, 2013

NYC train derailment airs queries about technology

YONKERS, N.Y. (AP) — The revelation that a New York City commuter train derailed while barreling around a sharp curve at nearly three times the speed limit is fueling questions about whether automated crash-avoidance technology could have prevented the carnage.

Safety officials for decades have championed what’s known as positive train control technology, which uses GPS, wireless radio and computers to monitor trains and stop them from colliding, derailing or going the wrong way. But the railroad industry has sought to postpone having to install the systems because of the high cost and technological issues.

Investigators haven’t yet determined whether the weekend wreck, which killed four people and injured more than 60 others, was the result of human error or mechanical trouble. But some safety experts said the tragedy might not have happened if Metro-North Railroad had the technology, and a lawmaker said the derailment underscored the need for it.

“This incident, if anything, heightens the importance of additional safety measures, like that one,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, which also is served by Metro-North. “I’d be very loath to be more flexible or grant more time.”

The train was going 82 mph as it entered a 30 mph turn Sunday morning and ran off the track, National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener said Monday. He cited information extracted from the train’s two data recorders; investigators also began interviewing the train’s crew.

The speed stunned officials — “I gulped,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

“Certainly we want to make sure that that operator is disciplined in an appropriate way. There’s such a gross deviation from the norm, that there may be other agencies that also want to take a look at his behavior in operating the train,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday. “That amount of speed is certainly unjustifiable.”

Text Only
National News
  • Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

    A couple who held hands at breakfast every morning even after 70 years of marriage have died 15 hours apart.

    Helen Felumlee, of Nashport, died at 92 on April 12. Her husband, 91-year-old Kenneth Felumlee, died the next morning.

    April 19, 2014

  • State Unemployment [Duplicate] Unemployment fell in March WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More than two-thirds of the states reported job gains in March, as hiring has improved for much of the country during what has been a sluggish but sustained 4 1/2-year recovery. The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment r

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Improved outlook for health law WASHINGTON (AP) -- A surge of eleventh-hour enrollments has improved the outlook for President Barack Obama's health care law, with more people signing up overall and a much-needed spark of interest among young adults. Nonetheless, Obama's announceme

    April 19, 2014

  • U.S. puts off decision on Keystone XL pipeline WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is putting off its decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, likely until after the November elections, by extending its review of the controversial project indefinitely. In a surprise announcement Friday as Was

    April 19, 2014

  • Chelsea Clinton [Duplicate] Title of new book:'Hard Choices' WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Hillary Rodham Clinton's upcoming book will be called "Hard Choices," a title that reflects how the potential 2016 presidential candidate may try to define her record as President Barack Obama's secretary of state while she consid

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Judge asks pointed questions in gay marriage case

    A judge in Colorado who will play a pivotal role deciding whether gays should be allowed to wed in the United States asked pointed questions Thursday about whether Oklahoma can legally ban the unions.

    U.S. Circuit Judge Jerome Holmes is seen as the swing vote on the three-judge panel that heard the Oklahoma appeal and a similar case from Utah last week.

    April 18, 2014

  • NASA's moon-orbiting robot crashes down as planned

    April 18, 2014

  • Eyewitness testimony no longer a gold standard

    The American legal system offers few moments as dramatic as an eyewitness to a crime pointing his finger across a crowded courtroom at a defendant.

    The problem is that decades of studies show eyewitness testimony is only right about half the time — a reality that has prompted a small vanguard of police chiefs, courts and lawmakers to toughen laws governing the handling of eyewitnesses and their accounts of crimes.

    April 18, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    April 18, 2014

AP Video
Facebook