LUAS driver fatigue flagged as serious risk – Donohoe

20th October, 2009

An independent report warning of fatigue and stress among LUAS drivers had been drafted before the O’Connell Street collision between a tram and a bus in which more than 20 people were injured, Fine Gael Seanad Transport Spokesman Paschal Donohoe has revealed.



The report specifically linked driver fatigue to accident risk, and recommended that driving times on LUAS trams should be cut. The ‘Independent Review of Appropriateness of the Maximum drive time of Luas Drivers’ was produced jointly this year by the McGuinness Killen Partnership and SIPTU. It had been commissioned by LUAS operators Veolia, and warned that LUAS drivers were very concerned that driver fatigue would cause an accident.


Senator Donohoe said: ‘Someone has very serious questions to answer here. LUAS drivers, and independent onsultants, had both warned that driver fatigue should be addressed’.


“Concerns had been raised as far back as 2004 in an earlier report by Egan Safety Solutions. This report warned that the LUAS operating company had not ‘properly considered the staffing levels necessary to provide the safest possible environment for all concerned’.


“However, the operators of LUAS do not appear to have addressed the matter of fatigue. In fact, the 2009 report warned that ‘the current rostering methodology produces results which could cause unnecessary fatigue and need to be critically examined and altered’. It also recommended that drivers on the ‘red line’ should work for no more than four hours at a stretch. The current driving time is an average of four hours and 15 minutes.


“What’s more, drivers have been raising problems associated with fatigue for many years. A newsletter produced by drivers has warned repeatedly about this problem. One edition asks: ‘why are drivers exhausted after driving four hours? Because they were tired before they even left the depot’.


“Fine Gael has called for a public inquiry into the recent bus/LUAS tram collision. We do not believe that private investigations by CIE and the LUAS operations will be sufficient. And Veolia should immediately implement the recommendations set out in the McGuinness Killen Partnership/SIPTU report, including revised rostering to combat fatigue.”