NTSB releases data on deadly truck-train collision

By Reed Black, Land Line Now staff reporter | 12/12/2012

The National Transportation Safety Board released its findings Tuesday in the investigation of a fiery collision involving a truck and an Amtrak passenger train on the Nevada desert in June 2011.

The truck driver and five people on the train were killed and 16 others injured at a crossing on U.S. 95 near Fallon.

“The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Merriam, NV, accident was the truck driver’s delayed braking possibly due to fatigue; distraction from using his hand-held cellphone or distraction from pain associated with a medical ailment; and the failure of John Davis Trucking to adequately maintain the brakes on the accident truck,” David Mayer with the NTSB said. “Contributing to the number of fatalities and severity of injuries was insufficient passenger rail car side impact strength.”

The NTSB says not only were the brakes on the 2008 Peterbilt poorly maintained, but that its antilock brakes weren’t operating.

And they say the trucker was nearly half a mile from the crossing when the warning signals activated but showed no signs of braking until he was 300 feet away.

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