Tram driver’s ‘microsleep’ may have led to fatal crash
Fateful seconds as vehicle gained speed
The driver involved in the Croydon tram crash possibly drifted into a “microsleep” before speeding round a sharp bend, an investigation has found.
Alfred Dorris, 43, from Beckenham, south-east London, was driving the tram when it came off the tracks at almost four times the speed limit in darkness and heavy rain on November 9 last year, killing seven people and injuring 51.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) believe it is “probable” he “temporarily lost awareness” and may have fallen into a microsleep for up to 49 seconds.
When he roused from his disorientation, he ini- tially believed the tram was travelling in the opposite direction. The report says “he stated that he did not realise he was approaching Sandilands until the tram turned into the curve”.
Some passengers described the crash as “like being in a washing machine”. People fell through the openings where windows had smashed and doors were torn off.
They were “crushed under the tram” as it slid for three seconds and 27 metres before coming to a rest.
Investigators made 15 safety recommendations including operator Tram Operations Ltd reviewing its management of driver fatigue, tougher windows and better signage at highrisk locations.
AFTERMATH: Rescue workers and investigators at the scene of the tram crash that killed seven and injured 51