Cousins Respond to FRA’s Response to Brightline Fatality.

We are Natalia Vorano and Valeria Vorano, cousins of Verónica Martinez Vorano, who died on November 15, 2019 in Aventura, FL after a Brightline train hit her Mercedes SUV. We live in  Argentina.

We appreciate that finally and after 9 months, since the letter that kindly send Mr. Thomas Hardy trying to help in getting some information, there is an answer. Despite, we consider is an “answer without answers”. The main objective of the response is define responsabilities.

Of what is expressed by Mr. Karl Alexi, we arrive to these conclusions or reflections:

[ In July 2019, Mr. Alexy became the Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety and Chief Safety Officer of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).]

Karl Alexy
  • There is no organism, from the many that exist, that is in charge of doing a complete investigation of these kind of incidents. A complete investigation supposes, in this case, have acces to the videos and determine why Verónica stayed on the tracks. The Miami Police report it couldn´t be consider an investigation, because it’s only a traffic report, a multiple choice form, that stablished minimal and obvious issues about how the crash occured. All the control organisms consider in an anticipated way that if a car stand on the tracks the responsability lies with the driver and this, doesn’t have to be like this always. We haven´t had access to the other reports that are mentioned in the letter. It can not be that the videos belong to FEC or to Brighline, the video recordings must be available to State control bodies to do a complete investigation and determine how an incident of this kind occurred.

  • If FRA doesn’t do the investigation when there is a single death, then who does it? If FRA only does investigations in case of  failure in the track control system, then, who does the investigations when there are not these failures? We don’t understand that a difference in the number of dead people define whether a full investigation is done or not. We consider that there may be several factors that may lead to an accident. For example, that by a human mistake a person get trapped on the tracks. Railroad crossings must be safer to avoid any possibility of crash or any kind of accident. This is not happening since there are so many deaths on the railroad crossings.

  • In respect of safety at the railroad crossings evidently there are two pints of view. There are those who consider that the crossings are safe, as FDOT, FRA, Brightline, some citizens, but there are others as Alliance for Safe Trains and a group of other citizens that consider that the reailroad crossings are not safe and that security measures regarding high-speed trains that cross through cities are not enough. We invite Mr. Alexi to visit Alliance for Safe Trains website. We believe that the proposals that are made there are reasonable and for some reason there are so many deaths.  Of everything we have been able to inform ourselves we share this second point of view.

  • We think that those 16 incidents that happened on the crossings must be investigated and determine in each case what happened. It is not difficult to do it, videos would make everything easier. So, we are amazed that no body in charge of the investigations have access to the videos. It is about 16 people dead and their families. Know what happens in each case would help to improve safety systems.

  • Maybe, at the workshops, those  responsable for security could analyze the videos and determine why accidents happened, what is failing. 

  • If Verónica´s accident happened because of a recklessness or infraction, we also want to know it and we will accept that. The only way to know it is having access to the videos or to any testimony that saw what happened that day. This that not appear in the reports.

On one thing we are agree, Verónica’s death was fatal and preventable. It was fatal for her and her family and we are sure that it coud have been prevented if the crossings prevented all possibility of entering them or stay there locked up. Security measures must be taken to the extreme so that if any human error occurs, which may happen, death can be avoided.

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