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Croydon tram driver filmed 'asleep at wheel' on same line as fatal crash Croydon tram driver filmed 'asleep at wheel' on same line as fatal crash
(about 4 hours later)
A tram driver has been suspended and an investigation launched after a passenger filmed him allegedly asleep at the controls, six months after seven passengers were killed in a crash on the same network.A tram driver has been suspended and an investigation launched after a passenger filmed him allegedly asleep at the controls, six months after seven passengers were killed in a crash on the same network.
The film apparently shows the driver asleep in charge of a tram heading to Wimbledon that had stopped at lights in the centre of Croydon at rush hour on Wednesday morning. According to commuters, he remained asleep for several minutes before passengers woke him.The film apparently shows the driver asleep in charge of a tram heading to Wimbledon that had stopped at lights in the centre of Croydon at rush hour on Wednesday morning. According to commuters, he remained asleep for several minutes before passengers woke him.
FirstGroup, which is responsible for running the trams, said it has suspended the driver involved in the latest incident, and launched an investigation. FirstGroup, which is responsible for running the trams, said it has suspended the driver involved in the latest incident and launched an investigation.
A spokesman said: “We do not tolerate any violation of our safety policies, processes and procedures. Any employee found to be in contravention of these will face disciplinary action.”A spokesman said: “We do not tolerate any violation of our safety policies, processes and procedures. Any employee found to be in contravention of these will face disciplinary action.”
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said he was “furious” and has demanded urgent answers from FirstGroup’s tram operations firm. “I am absolutely furious about this incident and I’m sure all Londoners will be as shocked as I am today. Bereaved families and survivors will be appalled by this video.” The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, demanded urgent answers from FirstGroup’s tram operations firm. “I am absolutely furious about this incident and I’m sure all Londoners will be as shocked as I am,” he said. “Bereaved families and survivors will be appalled by this video.”
Transport for London has told the operator to take any necessary action to deal with the problem of driver fatigue. It has also referred the footage to the industry regulator, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), as well as the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB), for urgent investigation.Transport for London has told the operator to take any necessary action to deal with the problem of driver fatigue. It has also referred the footage to the industry regulator, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), as well as the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB), for urgent investigation.
A spokesman for ORR said: “We are making inquiries with Tram Operations Limited about the issue. Our investigation into November’s Croydon tram incident is ongoing.A spokesman for ORR said: “We are making inquiries with Tram Operations Limited about the issue. Our investigation into November’s Croydon tram incident is ongoing.
“We are assessing the processes and procedures of the operating company, particularly in relation to driver fatigue, and will keep the need for further action under review.”“We are assessing the processes and procedures of the operating company, particularly in relation to driver fatigue, and will keep the need for further action under review.”
Last month four drivers told the BBC they had fallen asleep at the wheel, while footage emerged of one driver apparently asleep in charge soon after the disaster in November. Seven people died and more than 50 were injured when a tram sped through a tight bend before derailing.Last month four drivers told the BBC they had fallen asleep at the wheel, while footage emerged of one driver apparently asleep in charge soon after the disaster in November. Seven people died and more than 50 were injured when a tram sped through a tight bend before derailing.
While the investigation continues into that crash, an interim report by the AAIB suggested the driver had “lost awareness” as he approached the bend at more than three times the speed limit.While the investigation continues into that crash, an interim report by the AAIB suggested the driver had “lost awareness” as he approached the bend at more than three times the speed limit.
FirstGroup said it had implemented additional measures to increase awareness of fatigue among its drivers, including individual briefings by managers.FirstGroup said it had implemented additional measures to increase awareness of fatigue among its drivers, including individual briefings by managers.
The commuter who videoed the driver told the London Evening Standard that most of the 50 or so people aboard decided to get off at the next stop because they were so concerned.The commuter who videoed the driver told the London Evening Standard that most of the 50 or so people aboard decided to get off at the next stop because they were so concerned.
He said: “The tram stopped at the lights because he just fell asleep. We had to hit the windows to wake him up. I think he was there for about two minutes. If we didn’t wake him up he’d have been asleep even longer.”He said: “The tram stopped at the lights because he just fell asleep. We had to hit the windows to wake him up. I think he was there for about two minutes. If we didn’t wake him up he’d have been asleep even longer.”