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LaGuardia crash highlights need for attention to runway safety

Posted by Smiley & Smiley on Mar 5, 2015 5:42:30 PM

Last week, we discussed the issue of guard rail safety. Guard rails are not ordinarily on the minds of lawmakers and transportation safety advocates, simply because they are so ubiquitous that their stability and performance is taken for granted. However, as our previous post illustrates, the stability and performance of guard rails is currently a pressing issue impacting the safety of motor vehicle travelers nationwide.

Unfortunately, today’s runway accident at New York’s LaGuardia airport clearly illustrates that runway safety is a pressing issue for air travelers in many of the same ways that guard rail safety is a pressing issue for ground travelers. According to numerous media outlets, a Delta Air Lines passenger plane landed at LaGuardia and then began to skid. The plane halted only when it was perilously close to the banks of the freezing East River.

As of today, it does not seem that mechanical failure or pilot error contributed to the crash. Of course, a thorough investigation will need to be conducted before either of these factors can be ruled out. But regardless of whether or not any other factor contributed to the crash, the fact that an airport runway was essentially transformed today into a slip-and-slide of ice and snow is disturbing. This non-fatal accident is sure to bring attention to the fact that takeoff and landing accidents accounted for one-third of all fatal airplane wrecks which occurred between 2004 and 2013, according to Boeing Co.

Like guard rails, runways are a factor of travel that many lawmakers, safety advocates and travelers take for granted. However, it remains vital that both runways and guard rails remain safe or they will no longer be factors of travel that anyone will be able to take for granted.

Source: Bloomberg Business, “LaGuardia Landing Accident Spotlights Threat on Airport Runways,” Alan Levin, March 5, 2015

Topics: Premises Liability

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