DRIVER ERROR IS... ...A SYSTEM ERROR

A detailed consideration of facts in official accident reports often reveals that safety problems are caused more often by systems faults than by human error. 'Operator errors' should be viewed as starting points for accident investigations, not as outcome findings. Safety-critical rail systems should be designed to support the needs of their operators and users; this would reduce the risk of operator errors. Increased automation is sometimes advocated, but the rail industry cannot be fully automated, because humans are still involved in system design and maintenance, so that the risk of human error can never be completely eliminated. At present, the train driver is still the staff member whose performance affects safety most. Train drivers display variable levels of motivation and skill, so that rail companies should develop error-tolerant procedures. For example, well-designed in-cab signalling information can support the driver, and automatic signalling could stop a train whose driver has not shown awareness of the signal state. It is not yet fully clear which tests are the best predictors of a future career as a safe train driver. The potential for rail simulators for driver training and tests is being closely studied; they have not been used much in the UK as opposed to Europe and North America.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    MACK-BROOKS PUBLISHING LTD

    FORUM PLACE
    HATFIELD, HERTFORDSHIRE  United Kingdom  AL10 0RN
  • Authors:
    • Parkes, A
    • LANSDOWN, T
  • Publication Date: 2000

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 10,12
  • Serial:
    • Rail Bulletin
    • Volume: 12
    • Issue Number: 2
    • Publisher: MACK-BROOKS PUBLISHING LTD
    • ISSN: 0963-9578

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00799674
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Oct 6 2000 12:00AM