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Distracted Driving, Bad Brakes Blamed for Fatal Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board released a report Tuesday concluding that faulty brakes and inattentive driving were likely to blame for a collision between a truck and an Amtrak train that killed six people and injured more than a dozen last year in Nevada.

The panel of investigators believes the truck driver did not notice the train at first because he was suffering from ankle pain and tired due to an irregular schedule. Investigators also say the man received a phone call just before the crash and may have been checking his voicemail, but they could not say with 100 percent certainty.

However, not all of the blame was placed on the driver. The train engineer noticed the truck was not slowing and started sounding the whistle and hit the emergency brakes.

Rubber skid marks show the truck driver also hit his brakes at about 300 feet from the tracks, and if the brakes had been properly maintained, he should have been able to stop within 230 feet.

Investigators also found that weakness of the passenger car walls on the train likely increased the death and injury total. The accident could lead to new standards for train walls.

I am saddened about this loss of life and the injuries to innocent victims. The report shows how many factors can play a role in an accident. I hope this report is taken seriously and leads to serious changes.

Drivers must always pay attention, and brakes and other safety equipment should be checked regularly to make sure its up to standard.