The National Transportation Safety Board said the Amtrak Cascades train that derailed in DuPont Monday was going 50 mph over the speed limit when it careened on an overpass.
The train was traveling 80 mph in a 30 mph zone, the NTSB said.
Positive train control — technology that could have slowed or stopped the train automatically— wasn’t in use on this stretch of track, according to Amtrak President Richard Anderson.
In 2008, it was mandated for positive train control to be installed by 2015. However, Congress extended that deadline to December 31, 2018.
“We are on track to meet that deadline,” Anderson said.
Anderson would not comment on why positive train control had not been put in place sooner.
He also said he would defer to NTSB's determination of probable cause as to whether the technology would have prevented the crash.
Jim Vucinovich has tried several cases involving train derailments. He said the lack of positive rain control could be a factor in litigations following the crash.
"Positive train control is a technology that's been around a long time, particularly in Europe. It's only late to the game here in the United States. But that technology clearly would have been a redundant system which would have then automatically reduced the train speed if the engineer was distracted or some other catastrophic failure had been occurring."
Vucinovich says he believes the capital cost is the primary reason the system is not yet in place.
Vucinovich said some of the injured survivors will be dealing with disabilities for the rest of their lives.