Train drivers and fatal accidents on the rail: Psychological aspects and safety

Valdimar Briem, Sonia de Lima, Camilla Siotis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearch


Psychological disability caused by stress is likely to affect cognitive and emotional functions, such as memory, attention, concentration, and decision making. These functions are essential in a train driver’s work, who is responsible for his or her own and others’ safety, and for this purpose requires optimal work capacity. Eighteen train drivers, 40 – 56 years old, most of them with long work experience, participated in the present study, which included psychological tests and interviews concerning fatal railway accidents the driver had experienced while at the controls of the train. The results indicate that a train driver who has witnessed a person being killed under his or her train frequently suffers long-lasting psychological consequences of the accident. It is evident that careful measures, which include professional psychological help and support from the driver’s family, peers, and company management, are important components in the psychological healing process after such an accident.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPeople and Rail Systems: Human Factors at the Heart of the Railway
EditorsJohn Wilson, Beverley Norris, Teresa Clarke, Ann Mills
ISBN (Print)0-7546-7184-4, 978-0-7546-7184-8
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychology


  • serious accidents
  • psychological factors
  • PTSD
  • suicides
  • train drivers


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