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MBTA Safety Review Panel Finds ‘Safety is Not the Priority’

Posted by David P. McCormack

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For many Bostonians, riding the train, subway, or bus is part of their daily commute. They see firsthand that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) transit system is riddled with problems – and accidents.  

On December 9, 2019, a panel of experts published a Safety Review Report focused on the MBTA’s subway system. They found that the MBTA’s approach to safety is questionable. The MBTA’s safety department is understaffed, but this is just one part of a bigger problem. In almost every area that was examined, the panel found deficiencies in policies, in following safety standards, and in accountability.  

Through employee interviews, the panel found that safety issues reported by employees were often ignored by management. The panel found a culture of “blame shifting” in which MBTA employees feared retaliation, creating a chilling effect. Many safety issues likely go unreported today.  

The report highlighted the fact that the MBTA has had nine General Managers since 2010. The panel states that this turnover “may be the overarching reason that we see the level of safety deficiency at the agency.” 

The report concluded that accidents on the MBTA are symptoms of the fact that “safety is not the priority.” 

These are just some of the findings from the report. The panel wrote that the MBTA should adopt Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) standards for the subway system. Three dozen other recommendations were also made.  

The MBTA’s recent series of derailments and other safety issues is not a new problem. Just two years ago, SUGARMAN asked “Why are MBTA railroad deaths in Massachusetts rising?” In 2015 and 2016, the MBTA had the highest number of derailments in the nation.    

SUGARMAN is experienced fighting the MBTA

SUGARMAN has represented people injured or killed in trains, subways, buses, and commuter rails. In addition, SUGARMAN represents those struck by trains and subways, and people injured on MBTA platforms or in MBTA stations.  

SUGARMAN’s personal injury lawyers represent railroad, subway, and MBTA workers and their families who are injured or killed in train or subway accidents. This includes claims under the Federal Employers Liability Act, claims involving defective railroad equipment, and claims involving the negligence of railroad contractors and sub-contractors.  

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a MBTA accident, call us for a consultation at (617) 542-1000 or email info@sugarman.com.