25 Killed in Metrolink Accident – Could it have been prevented?

25 Killed in Metrolink Accident – Could it have been prevented?

Mobile Video Systems of California has partnered with with Berkeley Varitronics Systems of New Jersey to provide a monitoring system specifically designed to detect and provide a video record of cell phone usage by drivers of public conveyances such as rail or bus.

The system is designed to isolate detection to a very small area (2 to 3 feet in diameter) and ignore cell phone usage by riders outside of the designated area.

This is event based so it is not necessary to spend time reviewing hours of video. When the cell phone is used either voice or text the event is recorded and can be set to automatically download to a server when the vehicle comes within range of the Wi-Fi network. Notification of events as well as the video can also be automatically sent to a supervisor via Smartphone or monitoring center immediately via a 3G network.

This product was specifically designed for Los Angeles Metrolink in response to the tragic 2008 Chatsworth train accident which was specifically attributed to the Metrolink driver texting and calling (see Timeline listed below) that took the lives of 25 people along with scores of injured.

This product in now available for sale to all public transportation districts concerned about drivers attention being subverted by cell phone usage.

Here is the actual timeline of the accident


Metrolink train #111’s timetable[20]
Station Time
Union Station 15:35
Glendale 15:45
Downtown Burbank 15:51
Bob Hope Airport 15:55
Van Nuys 16:02
Northridge 16:09
Chatsworth 16:16
Simi Valley 16:28
Moorpark 16:45
The events on September 12, 2008 leading up to the collision (all times local):[21][22]
05:54 Engineer Sanchez begins his 11-hour split shift.
06:44 Sanchez begins his morning run.
08:53 Sanchez finishes his morning run after exchanging 45 text messages while en route.
09:26 Sanchez finishes the first part of his shift and goes off duty.
14:00 Sanchez returns to work after reportedly taking a two-hour nap.
15:03 Sanchez begins his afternoon run.
15:30 Sanchez uses his cell phone to order a roast beef sandwich from a restaurant in Moorpark.
15:35 Metrolink train #111 departs Union Station with Sanchez at the controls of locomotive #855.
16:13 The signal north of the Chatsworth station is set to red to hold the Metrolink train.
16:16 Train #111 is scheduled to depart Chatsworth station with the next stop in Simi Valley.
16:21:03 Sanchez receives a seventh text message while en route.
16:22:01 Sanchez sends the last of five text messages while en route, 22 seconds before impact.
16:22:19 The locomotive crews can first see each other 4 seconds before impact.
16:22:21 The Union Pacific freight engineer triggers the emergency brake 2 seconds before impact.
16:22:23 The trains collide after Sanchez runs through a track switch without applying the brakes.

If our system would have been in place in conjunction with a progressive disciplinary review program covering cell phone usage Mr. Sanchez would most likely have either not been using his cell or relieved of his duties as a driver.


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