2013
07.31

The train was travelling at a speed of 119 mph, 79 people dead, 66 injured, and yet the train driver was talking on his phone when it derailed. When will we learn that planes, trains, and automobiles require our full attention when we are operating them?

On Tuesday, investigators announced their preliminary findings from analysis of the train’s “black box,” data recording suggesting that human error was the cause of Spain’s worst railway disaster in decades.

An accident only takes seconds, and not surprisingly, minutes before the train wreck, the driver received a call from an official that organizes the traffic on the rail network. Not sure if this is a normal routine, but this is why it’s called distraction.

And while the train driver was on his work phone in the cabin, not his personal cellphone instructing him on what approach to take toward his final destination, he was consulting another document as well. Let’s compound the distraction to be not only visual, but cognitive as well.

The tragic events in Spain have left all of us with a sinking feeling in our stomachs. It seems like every day we hear another tragic story of innocent lives being taken away. However, what’s makes this story even more upsetting is that drivers continue to make the same mistake over and over again. How many times do we have to say distraction kills? How many more family and friends need to lose their lives before we put down our electronic devices when we operate a motorized vehicle?

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