NTSB Miriam Amtrak crash hearing in progress

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Updated: 12/11/2012 11:17 am
WASHINGTON, D.C. & RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - On June 24, 2011 at 11:19 a.m. an Amtrak passenger train, the California Zephyr, was struck broadside by a truck tractor in combination with two side-dump trailers. As a result of the collision, the truck driver and five people on the train were killed.  Today the NTSB is releasing its finding of the crash.

-The NTSB says the crossing lights started flashing 30-seconds before the crash and the crossing gates were down 18-seconds before the crash. They say their investigation found the truck did not start breaking until 4-seconds prior to the crash.

-The train sounded it's horn four times as it approached the crossing, but the noise from the truck likely masked the horn.

-There was no air conditioning in the truck that was being driven.

-The driver of the truck may have had significant ankle pain while driving.  The driver was ordered to take one week off work a month prior to crash due the his ankle injury, but he did not take that time off.

-The driver had "poor work performance history".

-The NTSB says self-reporting of past work history is "inadequate".  A driver database is recommend to be instituted that allows employers to be able to better check driving records.

-Numerous break defects were found including 11 of 16 drums were worn for the truck and its trailers.

-Missing anti-lock break components on the the trailers that means ABS functions were likely not working at the time of the crash.

-Driver may not have been aware of the problems with the breaks.

-Some people died in the crash because of the crushing force of the crash.

-The NTSB recommends the standards for train car sidewalls be strengthened.

-A new train warning sign will be added to the highway prior to the intersection.  The sign will be added by NDOT early next year.

-ABS wiring was disconnected on a number of John Davis Trucking vehicles.

-Nevada Highway Patrol inspected the fleet in December of 2011 and found "very few" violations.

-The truck likely was breaking at 57 to 75% of its ability.

-If the truck's breaks would have been working better, the truck may not have hit the train.

-The NTSB says maintenance on the truck was likely intentionally not kept up to federal rules; specifically the ABS breaks on the truck.

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