Chicago Train Derailment: Driver who ‘Dozed off’ Fired

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By Gopi Chandra Kharel | April 5, 2014 7:15 PM EST

A train driver in Chicago has been sacked, after her train derailed last month. She reportedly fell asleep while driving the train, something she admits has happened numerous times.  The 25-year-old woman worked as an operator for two months.

Reuters
A derailed commuter train rests on an escalator at O'Hare international airport in Chicago (Photo: Reuters)

32 people were hurt when the train jumped its track at O'Hare International Airport and climbed up an escalator on 24 March.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has said that the train was travelling at a normal speed of 42 km/h, when it entered the station. But an emergency braking system was applied beside the track, which failed to stop the train leading to the accident. The narration pointed towards the possibility that the driver had suddenly woken up after dozing off and applied the brakes in a confused state.

NTSB had said last month that the driver had dozed off just before the train entered the station.

The Chicago Transport Authority has said that the working schedule of the driver could not have played a major role in the crash, the BBC reported.

But, as a result of the crash, the officials would implement changes to its train operator scheduling policies after conducting an internal review of the accident.

CTA officials told the Chicago Tribune  that the driver had worked 55 hours in the seven days preceding the incident. But she was off for about 18 hours prior to the shift, during which the mishap took place.

The driver has also admitted to over-running a station in February, officials said.

"An incident of this severity is sufficient for termination, and that it could terminate the contract of an operator for two serious safety violations," Reuters news agency quoted CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase.

As part of the union collective bargaining agreement, the operator can appeal her firing. The National Transportation Safety has said that an investigation was underway and that a preliminary report was being prepared.

(Edited by Vanilla Sharma)

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(Photo: Reuters / )
A derailed commuter train rests on an escalator at O'Hare international airport in Chicago (Photo: Reuters)
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