CTA Motorist Fell Asleep At the Controls Lawsuit Filed

Stein & Shulman, LLC just filed suit against the CTA and motorwomen, Brittney Tysheka Haywook, for injuries sustained by our client in the accident on March 24, 2014 when a CTA passenger train derailed at the O’Hare subway station. At approximately 2:50 a.m. the blue line train derailed, overran the bumper and ascended an escalator leading to the airport, injuring 32 people.

Allegations directed at the motorwomen relate to her negligent operation of the train when she fell asleep while operating the train and operated the train at a speed which was greater than was reasonable. Ms. Tysheka admitted to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that she had fallen asleep at the controls before the accident. She explained that she had worked a lot of overtime and was “extremely tired” on the day of the accident.

As a result of the accident, CTA reduced the speed limit into O’Hare station from 25 mph to 15 mph. However, changes to the operation of the CTA should not end there. CTA needs to better manage and supervise its motormen and motorwomen so they are not overworked and sleep deprived – thereby falling asleep at the controls and putting many lives at stake.

The CTA derailment brings to light the dangers of nodding off while operating a vehicle. Not just for a train operator, but also for driving a vehicle on the road.  Dozing off at the wheel is remarkably common.  In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that more than 4 percent of drivers said they had fallen asleep or nodded off while driving at least once.

Drowsy driving is also a major issue for commercial motor vehicle drivers who become fatigued from excessive daily and weekly work hours. The FMCSA has attempted to regulate this issue by implementing rules that restrict commercial drivers to an 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day. Commercial drivers are also required to take a 30-min break during the first eight hours of a shift.  Yet despite their efforts, fatigued commercial drivers still remains an issue.  According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 750 people die and more than 20,000 people are injured each year due directly to fatigued commercial vehicle drivers.  In attempts to address this issue the National Transportation Safety Board has proposed rule changes to hours of service regulations governing commercial vehicle operations and recommended that the FMCSA require all heavy commercial vehicles to be equipped with cameras.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a negligent or reckless driver, call us for a free consultation and learn how our experience attorneys can go to work for you.