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JR Central: 8 shinkansen drivers used cell phones while on duty


The Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) has revealed that eight of its shinkansen drivers used cell phones for matters unrelated to work while on duty in the last year.

JR Central said that it came by the information after it questioned its drivers, around 740 in number, about their cell phone use, TBS reported Saturday. The survey followed an incident in which one of its drivers, a 38-year-old man who was training a new recruit on a bullet train from Kakegawa to Hamamatsu, accidentally emailed his supervisor from his work cell phone while trying to send a message to another driver on Aug 10.

JR said the survey revealed that eight of its drivers confessed to using their phones for non-work-related emails and phone calls while on duty. The company said the eight respondents have all been transferred to other duties and are no longer driving its bullet trains.

However, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Tourism and Transport's Chubu Transport Bureau said Friday it has issued a warning to JR Central, in which it requested measures be taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.

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The cell phone use can be controlled by having someone randomly view cabin cameras. Computer cameras can be programmed to signal use, too. If seen on camera, dismissal with no recourse. Safety, first.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The point of this article is unclear but it seems to be that the drivers used their mobile phones for non work reasons....not (like most comments imply) that using a mobile phone whilst operating (driving?) a train is dangerous.

For those who have not worked for Japanese firms in Japan, doing anything personal during work hours is a major no-no. Email. Phone calls. But I think it is even more than that. One time I had a business trip to my home country so I asked to travel on the Friday evening (10pm) so I could spend the weekend with my family but management (and J-worker friends) was absolutely shocked that I would even suggest such a thing and refused. But then they required me to travel on the Sunday so I would be at work for the Monday morning. Go figure!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Indeed, you need to respect the rules of jour company. Still, you can't go against humain behavior, i.e fill your lonely and 'free of actions' time. This is note formula une, you just follow rails ! (My uncle was train driver for 30 years...and explained so many times his stories)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I see no problem having a cellphone at work for these Shinkansen drivers. The problem is that when they are on duty (in actual operation of a train) they need to have discipline to not use it. For me, once I report to work I turn my cell phone off. I do not leave it on until right before takeoff.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Given that operating a train in Japan requires enormous operator attention--especially on the Shinkansen and in urban areas--I'm surprised that drivers were able to sneak cellphones into the driving cab in the first place.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is it a law that JR has to make this sort of announcement about staff problems within the company?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hope the Japanese Shinkansen drivers, do not become complacent like the Spain train drivers, that killed how many people there other day over in Spain?? I do hope and pray that this NEVER happens here in JAPAN!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Oh c'mon! This seems somewhat petty. So, they are allowed to use their JR phones for JR related purposes, but not their personal phones? Is this the rail service or prison? Lighten up a bit on these people and they might not make so many mistakes. There is a point where efficiency becomes totalitarianism.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If this is true that you punish honest drivers in Japan, its future is going to be very grim. And more Fukushima to come... Shutting your mouth in Japan is the silliest golden rule I know. And indeed, if you don't have someone open-minded enough while you reveal your facts, you are bound to get despised. Most Japanese don't know the difference between a fact and an opinion. and can't even imagine criticizing someone is not for the only purpose of being a bad person.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I agree with a previous poster, their honesty should be commended. Problem solved with regards the honest 8 who no doubt would not repeat the offence...well far more likely than those who were not honest! That's why the world is heading the way it is because we punish those that are honest and speak their minds and we reward conformity and deceit...sad indeed.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Seems to me that driving a bullet train is the same as flying an airplane 30,000 feet. So what?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Why would they use a (business) work cell phone for private use? Don't they know anything about cell phone history? Does JR consider this a safety issue? Although the Shinkansens are computer controlled and very reliable, using the cell phone to kill time is very unprofessional (behavior).

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Which raises the question, should they be allowed to carry cellphones on duty?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I wonder if they were used whilst driving, or whilst at stations? No-one else uses mobile phones during office hours do they?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Somebody ought to issue this warning to everybody in Japan: "Cell phones are a highly addictive, dangerous distraction that will turn you into a socially withdrawn zombie. They are also a waste of money and strain on the family budget, and they serve no useful purpose unless you are a doctor who cares for emergency purposes, a salesman or a person employed in the sex industry, such as the illegal procurement of the services of call girls for immoral purposes."

0 ( +4 / -4 )

So, the 8 who were honest and admitted to having used the phone were punished, but what about those who were dishonest?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

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