Article Text

Download PDFPDF

An accident that need not have happened
  1. I B Pless, Editor

    Statistics from

    Request Permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

    That quotation from recent news coverage of the terrible tragedy that took place at Paddington Station in London early in October says it all. Two trains collided, killing 30 and injuring many others. As is true for most such events, the evidence strongly suggests that what happened could—and should—have been prevented. Following an earlier similar event, a review committee recommended that a critical red light signal be made more visible and that other essential safety measures be taken. Sadly, neither recommendation was implemented. Whether, as some have suggested, failure to act was in part a consequence of the privatization of the railways in Britain, is not possible to prove. What is clear, however, is that horrible events such as this are doubly tragic if they fail to teach vitally important lessons about safety. The public should be outraged by the apparent indifference of those responsible. There is no conceivable reason why injuries that have a clear pattern should happen more than once. The staff and board of the journal extend condolences to all those affected by this terrible event. I feel certain they join me in urging, in the strongest possible terms, that steps be taken immediately to ensure that there is not yet another such tragedy in future.