The BBC has filed the following report on the February 2016 head-to-head collison of two commuter trains in Bavaria Germany:
A German train controller has been arrested over the February rail crash that killed 11 people in Bavaria, as prosecutors suspect he was distracted by a computer game at the time.
According to prosecutors he was playing the computer game on his mobile phone and made a signalling error, then dialled the wrong emergency number.
He has admitted that version of events, German media report.
Two commuter trains collided on a single-track stretch near Bad Aibling.
This is not the first fatal accident attributable to human error caused by use of a cellphone, but it seems to me that it's a matter of some urgency that we take steps to at least try and make it the last such accident. Or for those of you familiar with the railroad environment:
"How many f***ing people do we have to kill before we stop this bulls**t?"
All railroads should immediately classify cellphones as a hazard, akin to the use or possession of intoxicants while on duty or on the railroad property. Call it rule G-SM, or CDMA if you happen to be in Verizon territory.
The use or possession of cellphones, electronic tablets, pdas, or any portable device capable of two-way communication, or of transmitting messages other than a railroad issued portable radio transmitting over the frequencies assigned for railroad use,or capable of displaying pictures, photographs, or other graphics by means of a cellular wireless, wi-fi, bluetooth, or NFC (near field communication) connection, is prohibited while employees are on duty or on railroad property.
No cellphones issued to MOW supervisors, trainmasters, road foremen, superintendents, chief mechanics, vice-presidents, presidents, chairman. None. Nobody gets one. Pagers. Give them pagers.
As industry regulator, FRA will require its employees to comply with the operating rules of a railroad when on that railroad's property. No use of cellphones by FRA personnel when on the railroad property. Ever.
FRA will immediately disable all applications it has designed, purchased, and or disseminated intended for use by those with cellphones, or other personal digital devices.
All agencies reporting to the Secretary of Transportation will immediately cease participating in Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and any other "social media" outlet.
NTSB will make these changes part of its wish list and help make the wish come true by ending its participation in social media platforms. Likewise its investigators will be prohibited from the use and possession of cellphone while on railroad property.
Bags and hammers, brothers and sisters. We need bags and hammers to put an end to this. Cellphone goes in bag. Hammer hits bag repeatedly. Bag returned to employee at the end of his/her service period.
It's the very least we can do; or for those of you familiar with the railroad environment:
Quit f***ing around. Fire the first moron you see with a cellphone. Never let him/her back. You'll save a life.
April 12, 2016