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JR Yamanote line driver caught using smartphone while operating train

27 Comments

A 41-year-old JR Yamanote Line driver was caught using his smartphone while driving a train in Tokyo, JR East said.

A passenger witnessed the driver looking at his smartphone shortly before 1 a.m. on Wednesday while operating the train and reported the case to Nippori station staff, Sankei Shimbun reported.

JR confirmed the incident occurred, revealing that the driver used his phone while driving the train between Tabata and Nippori stations. The driver said he was watching a video game.

JR said the driver, who has over 16 years of experience on the job, has been temporarily suspended from duty. The company is currently considering additional penalties, adding that they will “reinforce employee training” as prevent measures for similar incidents.

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27 Comments
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The amount of people I see glued to their screens be it gaming, messaging, watching videos whilst walking, getting off and on public transport, riding on their bicycles is increasing, etc...is shocking.

Whilst operating a train, this is a first for me to hear of it and I think rightfully suspended.The scary thing is you would expect some kids or teenagers to do this even though it's annoying, but I see more and more adults falling into this problem.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The driver said he was watching a video game.

Watching or playing? No doubt it was that ever-so-popular and mind-numbingly boring game of joining the jewels. He should be fired!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

JR could put cameras in all its trains focussed on the drivers. This might keep them alert, awake, and off their phones.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The fear is that this could increase in the future, as more and more people experience separation anxiety from their phones while working.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Kudos to the passenger who reported the incident. The driver should have been professional at avoiding his phone all together, plus at 1 a.m. had to be the last ride of the evening. 15 minutes later he probably would have had the free time after the end of the shift.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Glad the passenge turned the guy in. Who knows what might have happened - in his highly distracted state, he could've made a wrong turn and ended up in the middle of Saitama. It'd be tough to make a U-turn with a train full of passengers like that.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

JR could put cameras in all its trains focussed on the drivers. This might keep them alert, awake, and off their phones.

One camera in the driver`s car (the rest to catch out gropers).......could work

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Camera sounds good to me, or have them issued phones to use in case of emergencies while on work in case the system in the trains goes down.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Only in Japan is this news...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

A passenger witnessed the driver looking at his smartphone shortly before 1 a.m. on Wednesday while operating the train and reported the case to Nippori station staff,

What a goodie two shoes rat.

This is the type of person who probably got beats in school for snitching on everyone.

This driver has 16 years of experience and could probably run the train with his eyes closed.

There's nothing I can't stand more than a rat, especially one that tattles to the authorities just so he/she can feel good about themselves while they knock someone else down.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Hope this was the first time he used his smartphone while driving the train. At any rate, my hat's off to the passenger for the definite action.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good catch, with trains it's always better to be safe than sorry. I would suggest video cameras in the driver's cabin or no more human drivers and have it completely automated

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Only in Japan is this news...

Not sure what you are trying to say... that someone in control of a large mass of metal traveling at a relatively high speed using their smartphone isn't such a problem, or that drivers in other countries don't do it?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Only in Japan is this news

Look up the 2008 Chatsworth Train Collision. 25 people died because the driver was texting and it was a very far place from Japan.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Look up the 2008 Chatsworth Train Collision.

Yup, remember that incident. It was big news in the LA area.

Japanese employees are disciplined and proficient during their work shifts. So yeah, this surprises me. Trains in Japan have low accident rates (human error) compared with most other modern nations.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Look up the 2008 Chatsworth Train Collision. 25 people died because the driver was texting and it was a very far place from Japan.

...and in Spain (the headline says "conductor", but the text says "train driver")...

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323854904578637961496514342

Japan hasn't cornered the market on brainless train engineers.

I would suggest video cameras in the driver's cabin or no more human drivers and have it completely automated.

I wounder if there wasn't one already in there. Otherwise how would JR have been not only able to confirm that it happened, but to also be able to say between which stations it happened?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I know that in some other countries, some trains are either driverless, or the 'driver' is there just in case something goes wrong. So my question is, was he actually supposed to control the train at all times?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So my question is, was he actually supposed to control the train at all times?

Irrelevant. Policies and procedures clearly state NO CELL PHONE usage during the operations of JR in active transit. Exceptions of course. Emergencies and or exigent circumstances.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Irrelevant

I asked a question to satisfy my curiosity. I'm not trying to defend what he did.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I know that in some other countries, some trains are either driverless, or the 'driver' is there just in case something goes wrong. So my question is, was he actually supposed to control the train at all times?

Even on trains that are supposedly 100% automated, if there's a driver they are there to activate the brakes in the event of something unexpectedly being on the track. They need to be scanning the track ahead continuously while the train is in motion. Taking your eyes of the track to even LOOK at a cellphone screen can mean the difference between stopping in time to prevent a fatality or not.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm sorry I asked.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The driver used very poor judgement, I think the suspension is warranted, if he is caught again,"SAYONARA"!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm sorry I asked.

it is legit to ask, My take will be that it is a relative good assumption to believe that his duty is certainly not to play games or watch videos during his work time on board.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Try living in the U.K. I once saw a First Capital train driver pull into the station eating his lunch in the drivers cab. Not only that, he then threw the paper bag onto the platform just before he pulled out of the station. I kid you not my friends.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm sorry I asked.

You need not be sorry. Some people just don't seem to know how to answer a simple question. In Japan, at least on JR trains, the driver is the sole operator to my knowledge. They may have computer-assisting systems, but the driver is the primary device of start and stop on any JR train.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In Japan he will be jumped on and will probably be demoted. In the UK management would have the drivers union on them and jumping to his defence.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A warning is enough. Anyone can make an error in his life. Moreover, we don't t know how extensively he played if so. At the same time, he must be in need for mental help rather than be considered incomptetent...my personal opinion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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