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Are the MBTA Red Line platforms safe?

Public transportation in Boston should be safe transportation. When a bus is boarded, one should expect that the driver has not been drinking. When a train passes through an intersection, it should do so with the safety of the train passengers as well as motorists or pedestrians near the tracks.

And when a person is waiting for the train, the platform should be well it, well marked and wide enough so that commuters or other passengers can get on and off the train safely and not fall onto the tracks. And yet that is what has happened on more than one occasion. People have fallen onto the tracks.

It was recently reported that for the fifth time in six months, someone has fallen onto the MBTA Red Line tracks. The latest incident happened prior to the train's arrival, so bystanders were able to rescue the individual. In this latest incident the person who fell was a woman. She suffered a leg injury and was transported to Boston Medical Center.

What would have happened if she had touched the third rail? According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) touching the third rail can result in electrical trauma due to high voltage arc injuries.

Not every rail system uses such high voltage but the MBTA appears to be one of them. Of the 16 incidences between 1970 and 1995 and who were taken to Shiners Burns Institute in Texas, Boston Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital, seven of them were unintentional injuries to subway workers. Nine of the third rail incidents were to non-employees and included a greater level of electrical burns. Three of those injured did not survive the fall or the electrical shock.

The fact that there were 16 incidents during a 25-year period and five during the past six weeks is disconcerting. Should it be determined that there was any negligence on the part of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the injured person could sue for compensation for his or her personal injuries.

Source: BostInno, "For the Fifth Time in Six Months Someone Fell onto the MBTA Red Line Tracks," Steven Annear, Nov. 13, 2012

  • At our Boston law firm, we represent individuals who are seriously injured in a mass transportation, commercial vehicle or train accidents such as the one described in this post.

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