Saturday 6 November 2010

Road vehicles ‘greatest threat to trains’

A cement lorry has crashed into a train in Surrey.

According to one witness:

"The lorry clipped the edge of the bridge on the left and then swerved out into the path of oncoming traffic.

"The driver obviously tried to correct it but the weight in the back of the truck caused it to swing violently back to the left side of the road and the rear end smashed through the brick wall of the bridge.

A spokesman for Hanson UK, a building materials firm, said its concrete was being carried in the lorry, which is owned by Kingman Services, a haulage company. He said the driver was also employed by Kingman.

Note (alas) that even someone as smart and knowledgeable as Christian Wolmar uses language which removes all human agency from road crashes (watch the video below).

He tells us not that the driver crashed into a brick wall for reasons not yet known but that the cement mixer ‘came off the bridge’. A phrasing which unconsciously removes the possibility (the likelihood?) that it was the driver who was at fault, not the vehicle. A moment later he says that ‘Both the Highways Agency and Network Rail have been looking at bridges that might cause some danger’. But bridges, like roads, don’t cause danger. Crashes occur, almost always, because drivers are taking risks of one sort or another – speeding, drunk, tired, texting, talking on a mobile phone, eating a sandwich or drinking coffee, changing the channel on the radio, changing a CD, staring at what’s on the SatNav screen, whatever. We live in a society where no one is particularly concerned about the wilful, criminally negligent operation of potentially very dangerous machinery (i.e. a motor vehicle).

Other lorry driver news:

A cyclist has died after an accident with a skip wagon.

The 55-year-old Guiseley man, died in hospital following the accident which occurred at about 4.45pm yesterday at the junction of Otley Old Road and Harrogate Road in Bramhope.