Sunday, April 24, 2005

Over the Long Haul, Fatigue Kills

When a Union Pacific freight train thundered into tiny Macdona, Texas, just before dawn June 28, the engineer and conductor had clocked more than 60 hours in the previous week, working the long, erratic shifts that are common in the railroad industry.

They flew through a stop signal at 45 mph and slammed into another freight train that was moving onto a side track. No one even touched the brakes.

Federal investigators suspect that both of the Union Pacific crewmen had fallen asleep. In the weeks before the crash, each man's work schedule had at least 15 starting times at all hours of the day.

The Macdona crash illustrates a grim fact of life for thousands of engineers, brake operators and conductors who guide giant freight trains across the country: Exhaustion can kill. (Via KTLA)

Train Accident - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

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