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MBTA Expert Says Trolley Accidents Like Friday's Crash Typically Caused By 'Human Error'

BOSTON (CBS) -- 25 people, including recent Boston University graduate Taylor Epstein, are now recovering from injuries after Friday night's MBTA trolley accident.

Epstein's boyfriend tells WBZ-TV one second she was on the phone, and the next, she found herself flying across the train. She struck a pole, suffering a broken nose and concussion.

The MBTA has announced one of the Green Line trolley operators involved in the crash has now been placed on administrative leave. The MBTA said the employee was operating the first car of the trolley that struck another train from behind at the B Branch station along Commonwealth Avenue.

Transportation expert Carl Berkowitz said although the cause of the crash is under investigation, trolley accidents are extremely rare and are typically caused by the driver.

"99.99999 percent of the time it's human error," Berkowitz said. "The worst case is the person has been drinking or on drugs. The second area we find accidents occur due to the bus driver using a cell phone, not paying attention."

Acting Mayor Kim Janey says the city is in close communication with the NTSB and plans on using information from the investigation to prevent another accident from occurring.

"I believe we can trust the MBTA to get us from Point A to Point B, but we do need to understand what happened here," Janey said.

The Green Line service on the B Branch is back up and running. The accident remains under investigation by the NTSB.

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