Cause Unknown, But Drug Use Established
All three workers involved in fatal Amtrak crash in 2016 tested positive for drug use, according to a new report released on Thursday. While investigators were clear that the ultimate cause is still unknown, a positive drug test in any situation is a red flag. Lack of communication and lax safety culture are still suspected to be the proximate causes of the derailment.
Marijuana, Cocaine, and Opiates – Drug Use On the Rise
The train engineer tested positive for marijuana, while the two workers on the tracks tested positive for cocaine and oxycodone (respectively). These results came amidst a sharp increase in drug use in the railroad industry in general. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, nearly 5 percent of all those involved in accidents in 2016 tested positive for illegal drugs.
This is an alarming increase over previous years. In 2014, no one involved in a rail accident tested positive for drug use. In 2015, only two individuals tested positive post-accident. This is not a trend unique to post-accident testing. In 2015, the rate of positive results in random testing increased 43 percent, after several years of flatlining.