Operators must tackle 'inattention' from drivers in wake of fatal Croydon tram crash

PUBLISHED: 10:47 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 13:19 03 August 2017

Seven people died in the Croydon tram crash on November 9 2016

Seven people died in the Croydon tram crash on November 9 2016


Seven people died when the tram derailed in November last year

Investigators reviewing the Croydon tram crash, which left seven people dead and injured dozens more, expect to publish their final report before the year anniversary of the tragedy.

Recommendations have been made early to tackle “inattention” from drivers, as well as staff fatigue, after drivers had admitted falling asleep while on-duty along the route.

At around 6.10am on November 9, a tram travelling from New Addington to Wimbledon overturned at a bend on Sandilands Junction, the driver, 42-year-old Alfred Dorris from Beckenham, was later arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

Dorris is currently on bail until September 20, having been arrested on the day of the accident, and rebailed in May.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch found tram was travelling at more than 40mph when “the driver had lost awareness” and applied the tram’s brakes too late on approach.

Six months on from the last report, investigators say they have gone through “considerably more evidence”, meaning the branch can now make early recommendations.

A spokesperson from the RAIB, said recommendations will include researching “active means of detecting the attention state of drivers and intervening in the event of inattention,” as well as managing staff fatigue.

Other draft recommendations include “improved containment of passengers by tram windows and doors”, after several passengers were ejected through broken windows in the crash.

There are also expected recommendations to create an industry body to monitor safety performance and standards between tramway owners and operators.

A final recommendation suggests providing some protection from serious accidents at “high risk locations”.

Transport for London says it has brought in speed restrictions to the junction, and is currently trialling a “driver vigilance” scheme, which alerts drivers who appear distracted or fatigued.

The system is expected to be brought into all TfL trams by the autumn.

Mike Brown, London’s transport commissioner from TfL said: ““We continue to work with the wider tram industry on these improvements and will consider any further measures that could be introduced to improve safety. We also continue to work with the RAIB and will take on board all recommendations from this and the other investigations that are underway.”

A spokesperson from the RAIB added: “We are aiming to publish the final report in under a year from the date of the accident. However, the publication date remains subject to a number of factors, some of which are outside our direct control.”

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