As a lawyer who sues the Florida Department of Transportation for injuries caused by its carelessness it did not surprise me that that those fancy high speed automated monorails that zip nearly 9000 passengers per day between terminals on the premises of Miami’s International Airport (MIA) would end up causing a serious Miami accident.
The Florida Department of Transportation has taken a hands-off approach to inspection and safety of the MIA monorails even though MIA is located within the State of Florida. What is even stranger is that the FDOT oversees identical monorails at both Tampa and Orlando airports. Wonder why? It probably has something do with money.
Sadly, on November 23, 2008, a horrible accident happened at MIA when a three-car monorail on Concourse E with passengers on board flew past its designated stop and slammed into a wall. The accident caused serious personal injury to several Miami passengers and millions of dollars of property damage.
The FDOT did not investigate the accident, but rather, it was left to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB holds itself out as an “independent federal agency” charged with the investigation of accidents and the promotion of transportation safety. As I recently reported on the “Huffington Post,” the NTSB investigation revealed that accident could have and should have been prevented by appropriate supervision of the maintenance team. More importantly it recommend that the FDOT be involved in overseeing the safety of monorails in the State of Florida regardless of compensation.
Florida’s Statute §330 requires the Florida Department of Transportation to administer and enforce the rules and regulations for public airports. I guess the FDOT did not get the memo when it decided to essentially allow the maintenance technicians for the MIA monorail to decide how and when they were to inspect, maintain and repair monorails. That is essentially like allowing a ten-year-old to babysit a nine-year-old without parental supervision, making disaster a certainty.
As a Miami-Dade County PI lawyer, I believe that accidents like this are preventable with proper oversight and accountability. The FDOT needs to work closely with all monorail systems within the state to ensure their safe operation.