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Thursday, September 23, 2010

1-12-2 Accidents 2 - Transportation Accidents

Physician's Notebooks 1 - http://physiciansnotebook.blogspot.com - See Homepage
1.12 Accidents 2  Update 07 Novr 2017
                                
TRANSPORTATION ACCIDENTS
Contents of Chapter - Use  Search & Find
General Transportation, Airplane, Airplane Terrorism, Bicycle, Bridge, Bus, Car, Ferry, Horse Riding, Motorcycle/Moped, Skiing, Taxi, Train.


General Transportation : Driver, Vehicle, Route, Passenger are the keys in ground and air vehicle accident. Safe Driver is skillful, rested, age 30 – 50, healthy, drug-free, experienced, and seat belt correctly buckled. Safe Vehicle is tried and tested accident-free and well-maintained air-bagged model with test of prior usage but neither too old, nor too new model. Safe Route is clear, moderate weather, quiet travel period, no crowded road, rail, or sky. Passenger should be in good condition with not overfull stomach, no restrictive clothing and seat belt correctly buckled. (But if you survive the crash landing, immediately unbuckle seat belt; cf. the 06 July 2013 Asiana Airlines landing crash at SFO where overheated locked seat belts trapped passengers in seats of burning aircraft)  Small child should be protected.

Airplane:  In-flight safety? Safest place in a jet if it is going to have trouble is at center. Aisle seat is safer because of better access to exit. Being next to door exit is less safe because of possibility of door blowout.
   When seated, keep seat belt fastened and in WC hold on to handlebar. When getting out of seat, pay attention to overhead bin: it may come open and cause heavy piece of luggage to fall on your head.
   Concerning medicine, of course, whatever your doctor prescribes, take; but otherwise avoid over-the-counter medications. In the event of trouble it is best to be unmedicated.
   Stay alert when you fly and early-on read the safety booklet.
   The more packed an aircraft, the more possibility of mishap so arrange to fly on least crowded day, date and season. And pay attention to weather right up to last minute before boarding. Flying risk multiplies on cold, icy, snowy, windy, wintery day, and especially at night, and much more during rain/wind/snowstorm. If airline chooses to fly in questionable weather, be prepared to cancel and fly on another, better day. If waiting to board or boarded and announcement informs of overbooking and offers cash reward and free overnight airport hotel stay to anyone who changes to later flight, volunteer if not very inconvenient to schedule.
   We can’t always control where and when we fly but at least we should be aware of increased risk we take, flying under specific condition in specific area. There are many more examples of bad weather accident correlated with cold, wind, rain and snow. Keep alert to weather conditions and live longest! 
   The most danger times of flight is takeoff and landing. Nonstop shortest mileage flight by major airline of a major Western nation including Japan is choice. In choosing international carrier avoid airline of a country like India or Russia that has major insurgency. Avoid Malaysia Airline and all Indonesian airlinesPoor country may have old, badly serviced aircraft and ill trained, low-paid, unhappy, crew but often offers cheap fare that is not worth the risk to your life. (Note the 28 Dec. 2014 AirAsia crash in the Java Sea and the 2009 crash of the Yemen Airline in Indian Ocean) Be alert to what is happening with an airline and whether an airline has labor trouble, cf. the Northwest Airlines, Oct. 2009 pilot overflight of airport destination; again 2 months later, the Xmas day terrorist over Detroit; the Germanwing pilot who suicide-crashed his commercial just in the French Alps, 24 March 2015: "He became upset about the conditions we worked under: too little money, fear of losing the contract, too much pressure." .. .

Airplane Terrorism  Beyond what is already mentioned concerning national airlines, prefer not to fly at the start of a week, ie, Mondays or Tuesdays. Almost all major airline terrorism has taken place on these named weekdays and the most likely  is that terrorist planning is done on weekend and carried out on day or two after weekend.
 The below excerpt from a recent news story gives very useful instructions how to survive an air-crash.

Expert explains how to survive "almost every" plane crash

Yahoo Canada Fri, Feb 10 6:44 PM PST
Almost all aircraft accidents are survivable – with 87.7 per cent of incidents involving zero fatalities – but there’s one step which can massively improve your chances, an expert has explained.
Last year, crew members who were pulled from the wreckage of the plane crash which wiped out nearly an entire Brazilian football team said they had survived by "following emergency protocol’ – while other passengers stood up and screamed.
Specifically, the crew members remained seated, and huddled over to protect from the impact.
Adopting a ‘brace’ position, where passengers curl over and fasten seat belts will prevent many of the most severe injuries incurred in crashes, an unnamed plane safety expert told Mail Online.
The expert said, "When a plane crashes you have two impacts."
"The first one passengers feel is a tightening of the seat belt. But as the aircraft stops you continue to move forward.
"But it’s the secondary impact that’s critical. What will happen is that your upper torso will move forward. And in moving forward you will hit something.
"That’s certainly the case in economy class seats.
"The best position to adopt is one where you crouch down and reduce the movement of the head in a forward direction.

Bicycle: Before car and convenient walkway existed, the bicycle was important in getting people about. In pre-1980 China, and in North Korea still today, bicycles were and are a useful public transport-alternative to fossil-fuel. But today in U.S.A. and Tokyo, bicycling for most is a hobby, a sport, an addiction and a danger. With today's good walkways and efficient, inexpensive public transportation, bicycling serves little purpose and causes trouble. Especially children, neurologically proven, have up to 3 times delay in reaction time compared to young adults so they are prone to accident when riding a bicycle. I am surprised at mother riding infant on bicycle. If you need exercise, walk; if you need to get someplace rapidly and safely, use public transport.

Bridge accident entered my consciousness from Minneapolis bridge collapse, 2 August 2007. Keep alert that every time you cross a bridge the risk to life sharply peaks. Important point is to avoid rush-hour bridge crossing or when repair is in progress because of increased risk from the added weight. Also avoid crossing in bad weather. And ancient bridge (Brooklyn Bridge 1883).

Bus travel presents similar risk, plus tripping on bus stair. A bus may suddenly lurch so be sure to grab the hanging handle if you stand, and even while you sit, hold on.


Car is top killer and causes injury and heart and lung disease; also it is the major cause of build up of CO2 that is causing greenhouse global warming. Most drivers own a car because of “monkey see, monkey do”, due to peer pressure and advertisement. If you sometime need a car, better to rent or hire a drive. Only drive if you are below age 60, well trained and healthy.
   My consciousness was raised about the danger of oldster behind steering wheel by my late 82 y/o cousin Ben causing a totaling accident when he did not notice another car approaching at right angle at intersection. He survived and next day had new car. Accident and death due to too old driver is too many, too much! Smart people give it up before it gives them up!
   But, still, the motor vehicle is here and, whether private or public, to be a safe driver (applies as well to a pedestrian) is key. The following from Volvo engineer analysis of thousands of MVA (motor vehicle accidents) gives principles of safe driving. It also refers to advanced computerized self driving vehicles: Most accidents are caused by what Volvo calls the four D’s: distraction, drowsiness, drunkenness, and driver error. The company’s newest safety systems try to address each of these. To keep the driver alert, they use cameras, lasers, and radar to monitor the car’s progress. If the car crosses a lane line without a signal from the blinker, a chime sounds. If a pattern emerges, the dashboard flashes a steaming coffee cup and the words “Time for a break.” To instill better habits, the car rates the driver’s attentiveness as it goes, with bars like those on a cell phone. (Mercedes motors go a step further: its advanced cruise control won’t work unless at least one of the driver’s hands is on the wheel) In Europe, some Volvos even come with Breathalyzer systems, to discourage drunken driving. When all else fails, the cars take preventive action: tightening the seat belts, charging the brakes for maximum traction, and, at the last moment, stopping the car
 And do not forget the air bag for your car, a type safe for infants: be sure it is checked regularly so that it will work when you need it.

Taxi has risk of having to rely on a dangerous driver. Here, use all your senses plus intuition. A taxi driver should look, smell, sound, and drive normal. Judge him immediately, and if a negative judgment waits until you are being driven around, be prepared to call Halt and say “Hey! This is where I get off.” For those who use taxi, a multi-passenger with driver you know and trust is best. Always, when you get in to ride, note the cabby’s name and i/d number, and if you cannot find it, tell him to let you out. At airport, avoid the unlicensed. Never ride in unmarked cab.  The latest Uber  system in many large cities where taxi drivers are being hailed by a computer system from Iphones may pose a risk to passengers because question of  supervision of the drivers by a 3rd party controller.
   The 30 May 2015 accidental death of 1994 Nobel Prize winner John Nash and his wife (the subject of 2000 movie "A Beautiful Mind") emphasizes a number of important points here. The situation: The Nashes just landed at Newark-Liberty Airport several hours ahead of schedule. The limousine to pick them up was not there and they chose to hail a local taxi from the airport. The taxi driver was only on his first few days driving and the Nashes also neglected to use the available seat belts. The taxi crashed as a result of poor driving and the Nashes were instantly killed because they were thrown out of the crashing car. The lessons here: prefer not to take a taxi especially from an airport and prefer to use railway or bus facilities. But if you take a taxi, be sure you have complete confidence in the driver, his appearance and nationality. Then always use seat belts. Finally, we must comment that this could be called a "Flitcraft" accident ie, a result of bad timing, that is, the 5-hour early arrival caused a series of events that ended in tragic death of these two very important people. Of course one may say it is fate and nothing to do about it, but with knowledge of "Flitcraft" effect, a person might automatically change his schedule or his decisions in order to disappoint fate. 
Ferry: 16 Oct. 2003 saw the horrific crash of a Staten Island Ferry (NYC, between Manhattan and Staten) that killed 10 and injured 60. The boat had a history of mechanical problem, the captain had crashed into the same dock 8 years before, and investigation revealed he was on medication that caused him to fall asleep as he docked. Be alert in using ferry (or other boat), especially to danger of crashing into dock but also to possibility of sinking and you being tossed into deep water. (Hong Kong ferry, 59 dead, Oct 2012; South Korean ferry, April 2014) Know how to swim. Be prepared to deal with sinking ship and you on it.

Horse riding. Remember former Superman, the late Christopher Reeve! Thrown forward from a horse; Reeve broke his back and spinal cord.

Motorcycle, moped and the like do not even have the excuse of being exercise or nonpolluting transport. They are people-perioding.

Skiing ought to be left to suicidal and dangerous thrill-seeker. It has injured or killed too many to justify its existence other than as financial support for orthopedic surgeon.

Train: Worst injury happens to standing passenger at end of the train car, at busy travel time. Avoid rush hour, stay in mid-train, find empty seat or be sure to hold on to handlebar or strap. Inside-train accident can occur without crash due to sudden deceleration in wall-to-wall people-packed train. If you must stand in crowded train, position yourself with metal barrier between you and bulk of passengers to avoid crush injury. (Worst is mid-aisle) Also note very high fatal train accidents in China.
Flash! In 2015, the high profile of high-injury commuter train crashes due to car crossings mishaps in U.S.A! And further for NY Area flash for 2016 note the below story:
HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) — A rush-hour commuter train crashed through a barrier at the busy Hoboken station and lurched across the waiting area Thursday morning, killing one person and injuring more than 100 others in a grisly wreck that renewed questions about whether long-delayed automated safety technology could have prevented tragedy.

People pulled chunks of concrete off pinned and bleeding victims, passengers kicked out windows and crawled to safety, and cries and screams could be heard in the wreckage at the station just across the Hudson River from New York City as emergency workers rushed to reach commuters in the tangle of twisted metal and dangling wires.
The New Jersey Transit train ran off the end of its track as it pulled into the station, smashing through a concrete-and-steel bumper. It apparently knocked out pillars as it ground to a halt in the waiting area, collapsing a section of the roof onto the train.
"All of a sudden, there was an abrupt stop and a big jolt that threw people out of seats. The lights went out, and we heard a loud crashing noise like an explosion" as the roof fell, said Ross Bauer, who was sitting in the third or fourth car when the train entered the historic 109-year-old station, a bustling hub for commuters heading to New York City. "I heard panicked screams, and everyone was stunned."
The train's engineer was pulled from the mangled first car and hospitalized in critical condition. He was cooperating with investigators, Gov. Chris Christie said.
A woman standing on the platform was killed by debris, and 108 others were injured, mostly on the train, Christie said. Seventy-four of them were hospitalized, some in serious condition, with injuries that included broken bones, bumps and gashes.
"The train came in at much too high rate of speed, and the question is: 'Why is that?'" Christie said. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said investigators will determine whether the explanation was an equipment failure, an incapacitated engineer, or something else.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent investigators. Among other things, they will want to know what the operator was doing before the crash and whether the person was distracted or fatigued, said Bob Chipkevich, who formerly headed the NTSB train crash investigations section.
None of NJ Transit's trains is fully equipped with positive train control, a safety system designed to prevent accidents by automatically slowing or stopping trains that are going too fast. Positive train control relies on radio and GPS signals to monitor trains' positions and speed.
The NTSB has been pressing for some version of the technology since at least 1990, and the industry is under government orders to install it, but regulators have repeatedly extended the deadline at railroads' request. The target date is now the end of 2018.
"While we are just beginning to learn the cause of this crash, it appears that once again an accident was not prevented because the trains our commuters were riding lacked positive train control," said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y. "The longer we fail to prioritize investing in rail safety technology, the more innocent lives we put in jeopardy."
But both Cuomo and Christie said that it is too soon to say whether such technology would have made a difference in the Hoboken crash.
Over the past 20 years, the NTSB has listed the lack of positive train control as a contributing factor in 25 crashes. Those include the Amtrak wreck last year in Philadelphia in which a train ran off the rails along a curve. Eight people were killed.
NJ Transit trains do have an alerter system — a sort of dead man's device — that can sound a loud alarm and then stop a train if the engineer goes approximately 15 to 20 seconds without adjusting the controls. But it is not clear whether that would have made a difference either.
The train was not equipped with an inward-facing camera in the cab that could give a fuller picture of the operator's actions.

The Hoboken terminal handles more than 50,000 train and bus riders daily, many of them headed into New York City. After arriving at Hoboken, they take ferries or PATH commuter trains across the river to the city.
Finally, note in accidents 1 chapter, my terrible fall on 23 March 2018 because I stood up on a moving subway car and stupidly didn't hold on for support.
To read next, Natural Accidents and Nuclear meltdown, click 1-12-3 Accidents 3 Natural Accidents, Includes N...


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