The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

December 6, 2013

NY train wreck could be case of highway hypnosis

(Continued)

“This is the type of accident that positive train control is designed to prevent,” Hersman said.

As for how to avoid micro-sleeping, a 10- to 20-minute nap or a cup of coffee can help in a pinch, suggested Kushida.

But experts agree there’s no substitute for getting good sleep.

Truck driver Alex Gordon agrees. He drives for no more than 10 hours at a time and makes sure to get enough sleep, and he says he’s never experienced highway hypnosis.

“I drive 10 hours, sleep 11,” the Miami-based Gordon said Wednesday during a break at a truck stop in Kearny, N.J. “You just can’t” put people in danger, he said.

In case of an engineer becoming incapacitated, the engineer’s cab at the front of the train was equipped with a dead man’s pedal, which must be depressed or the train will automatically slow down.

Another type of safeguard, called an alerter, sounds if the operators’ controls haven’t been moved within a certain timeframe. If an engineer does not respond, often by pressing a button, brakes automatically operate. Alerters are generally required in locomotives built after 2002.

The engineer’s cab was older and didn’t have an alerter, MTA spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said, but there was an alerter in the cab on the locomotive at the other end of the train — the engineer’s perch when the train was traveling in the other direction. The alerter works only when the engineer is using the locomotive cab.

The “push-pull” configuration, in which trains are pushed by a locomotive in one direction and pulled in the other, is common on commuter railroads, saving the time and space it would take to turn trains around.

Rockefeller, 46, has worked for the railroad for 15 years and has been an engineer for 10.

Crews are rebuilding the damaged track where Rockefeller’s train crashed. One of three tracks on the affected line reopened Wednesday, and commuters said they were grateful service was restored fairly quickly.

“We don’t get to complain,” said Elite Rubin, who does marketing for an accounting firm. “We weren’t on that train where people died.”

Text Only
National News
  • Medicare hospital fund to last 4 years longer

    Medicare's finances are looking brighter, the government said Monday. The program's giant hospital trust fund won't be exhausted until 2030 — four years later than last year's estimate.

    July 28, 2014

  • After 6 weeks, finally a deal on VA health care

    After more than six weeks of sometimes testy talks, House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a compromise plan to fix a veterans health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays.

    July 28, 2014

  • Brother sues W.Va. senator over business loan

    U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III faces a $1.7 million civil suit filed by a brother over a lifeline to save a family carpet business.

    July 25, 2014

  • Official: Hospital gunman intended to kill others

    A psychiatric patient ranted about a hospital gun ban before opening fire at the suburban medical complex, killing his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist before the doctor pulled out his own weapon and fired back, authorities said Friday.

    July 25, 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:

     

    July 25, 2014

  • Illinois woman, 47, dies rescuing boy in Wisc. lake ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — Friends and family are mourning the death of an Illinois woman who drowned while rescuing a 9-year-old boy in a Wisconsin lake.The (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reports 47-year-old Karen Wessel of Arlington Heights d

    July 25, 2014

  • Taiwan plane crash photo Air travel a leap of faith for passengers WASHINGTON (AP) — Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel.Even after a week of multiple tragedies in worldwide aviation, “There

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 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:

     

    July 24, 2014

  • U.S. economy, though sluggish, may now be sturdier WASHINGTON (AP) — Out of a seemingly hollow recovery from the Great Recession, a more durable if still slow-growing U.S. economy has emerged.That conclusion, one held by a growing number of economists, might surprise many people. After all, in the fi

    July 24, 2014

AP Video
Facebook