Commuter rails still safer than cars, trucks, motorcycles

- FILE - Train cars

DANBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — When Steve Gould sees the images of what happened Tuesday to an Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia, he can’t help but recall the times he traveled on those same tracks over 35 years.

“Accidents are caused by failure of equipment or failure of the individual operating that equipment,” said Gould. “I can’t really say which is the cause because we don’t know.”

Gould currently works at the Danbury Railway Museum and is an expert when it comes to trains. He says those fearful of using the mode of transportation in the wake of this most recent crash need to keep things in perspective.

“Accidents do happen, but I don’t think it should stop people from riding the trains,” said Gould.

He has a point. There are only .47 deaths per billion miles traveled on commuter rails. That’s safer than cars and trucks, which have 5.75 deaths per billion miles, and motorcycles with 217 deaths per billion miles.

Experts say it’s difficult, if not impossible, to say where the safest place to sit on a train is because no two accidents are ever the same. They do say the middle part of a train car provides the most comfortable ride because that is where the car doesn’t sit over the wheels.

To be safer when riding trains, be mindful of where emergency exits are located. Many windows can be used as exits and have latches that passengers can open in an emergency.

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