Did the Engineer in the Hoboken Train Accident Have Sleep Apnea?

Derailed trainIn mid-November, The Associated Press reported that the engineer operating the NJ commuter train involved in September’s deadly Hoboken crash was suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea at the time of the incident. Investigators are not yet sure whether the conductor’s sleep apnea played a part in the Hoboken train accident, which led to over a hundred injuries and one woman’s death. However, because of the revelation, the engineer’s sleep apnea has been added to the list of potential causes of the commuter rail disaster.

What’s Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes sufferers to wake up repeatedly when trying to sleep because their airways close up, which leads to them not being able to breath. The condition can result in daytime drowsiness. In 2013, a conductor involved in a deadly New York commuter train crash was later diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Does NJ Transit Test Engineers for Sleep Apnea?

The engineer operating the train during the Hoboken crash was not diagnosed with sleep apnea until after the incident. However, NJ Transit does test for sleep apnea. As of this writing, it had not been confirmed whether the train conductor in the Hoboken wreck had been tested for sleep apnea prior to the incident, and if so, how he passed the test.

The engineer reportedly does not remember the crash itself. Instead, he only remembers waking up on the floor of the train after the wreck. In addition, he has said he remembers traveling 10 mph as the train approached the station, yet investigators report the train was going 21 mph 38 seconds before the crash.

Our firm helps railroad disaster victims and their families get the help they need following the incident. We recently were involved in securing the largest train accident settlement in US history, recovering $265 million for the victims of the Amtrak Train No. 188 derailment.

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