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NTSB: Fatal Hoboken crash caused by fatigue, sleep apnea

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The National Transportation Safety Board determined a September 2016 commuter railroad accident in Hoboken was caused by engineer fatigue resulting from undiagnosed sleep apnea.

The accident on the NJ Transit railroad in Hoboken killed one person, injured 110 and resulted in major damage to the station. This incident involved a train that struck end-of-track bumping posts and crashed into the station, according to the NTSB report.

This report comes after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s call for an overhaul of NJ Transit, saying it experienced the most accidents last year of any of the 10 largest American commuter railroads from 2011 to 2016.

Murphy is calling for NJ Transit to be subject to a federally mandated Dec. 31 deadline for installing positive train control technology, a system of functional requirements for monitoring and controlling train movements.

The NTSB recommended safety-sensitive personnel be screened for obstructive sleep apnea, positive train control technology be implemented in terminal stations, and the effectiveness of system safety program plans be improved.

“The traveling public deserves alert operators,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said in a statement. “That is not too much to ask.”

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David Hutter

David Hutter

David Hutter grew up in Darien, Conn., and covers higher education, transportation and manufacturing for NJBIZ. He can be reached at dhutter@njbiz.com.

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