Pranksters pulling emergency brakes on subways pose real danger to passengers

Most people who pull the emergency brakes on the subway think it's funny, and harmless, but not. The MTA says it puts passengers in danger.

The train derailment on the Upper West Side last week is an example of vandals causing chaos and injuries.  

A collision derailed two trains, caused more than two dozen injuries, and severely interrupted service for more than two days after vandals pulled the emergency brake on one of the trains.  

The MTA says last year there were 1,748 vandalism incidents of pranksters pulling subway emergency brakes. 

That caused more than 7,365 delays in the system. Only 30 of the incidents were actual emergencies.

Professor Kurabayashi is the Chair of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

"One solution is that we eliminate that kind of system," Kurabayashi said. They should get rid of the direct access for these people to activate the emergency brake."

Professor Kurabayashi says the city's subway system is outdated and recommends replacing emergency brake cords on the trains with a different alert system.

"They employ some system which only allows passengers to activate an alarm and then the train driver actually activate the brake after ensuring that this is a legitimate alarm," Kurabayashi said.

He believes that unless the technology is updated, the pranks will continue.