This rail tragedy in Bad Aibling, Bavaria, in which 12 persons died and many more were injured, was caused by the train controller using his mobile phone while working.
Prosecutors said Michael P had been playing the fantasy game “Dungeon Hunter 5” on his phone when he allowed the two trains on to a single-track line.
The court heard from one police official that the controller had regularly played on his smart phone while on shift, even though it was banned. Analysis of his phone records showed that his mobile use often corresponded with his working hours.
“He played almost every time,” the official said, according to Germany’s DPA news agency.
There was a similar incident in London, England a couple of years ago in which the driver of a commuter train was using his mobile phone as he approached the terminus. He slammed into the buffers causing many passenger injuries.
I have worked in the process industries for all of my career. Safety is given the very highest priority — not least because the consequences of a large release of a Highly Hazardous Chemical can be so catastrophic. We have known for a long time that the use of a mobile/cell phone while driving is dangerous. We may think that we are looking at the road and watching the traffic but psychologists tell us that we are mentally “looking at” the person we are talking to and that our driving is receiving only 30% of our attention. For this reason companies in the process industries insist that mobile phones be switched off while driving; moreover, the use of a phone while driving is grounds for termination.
If you are driving, for your own safety and for the safety of your neighbors, please turn off your cell phone.