To ensure safety,the Railways wants its drivers to get a good nights sleep. And to provide that,it is reaching out to their families,telling them to have in place a conducive atmosphere that allows it.
Zonal railways have been holding interactive sessions with families of loco pilots and assistant loco pilots,telling them nothing at home should come in the way of the drivers fill of rest and uninterrupted sleep when they arrive after duty,including household chores.
The move follows increasing incidents of accidents due to train drivers jumping signals. In May last year,24 people were killed when the driver of Hampi Express had overshot a signal and rammed into the rear of a stationary goods train in Andhra Pradesh.
A set of guidelines reiterated by the Railway Ministry recently also stressed on measures to identify drivers who indulge in activities other than rest and to counsel them.
The sessions are very helpful because when a person is at his home station after long hours of duty,it is natural that he gets caught up in household responsibilities and chores. We have realised that it often prevents them from getting a fair share of sleep before the next assignment, a senior Railway Ministry official said.
Signal Passing At Danger the term used for accidents or near-accidents due to jumping of signals is often attributed to drivers not being alert enough to spot stop signals especially at night.
Recently,K K Srivastava,Member (Traffic),Railway Board,had also issued a letter saying that proper rest for drivers was of paramount importance as cases of signal jumps are increasing due to non-observance of proper rules.
It has been observed that drivers who have been inducted departmentally and drivers who are performing duty after availing headquarters rest are more prone to SPAD, Srivastava wrote.
Engine drivers have been complaining for years about long and continuous duty hours depriving them of rest. Their duty hours as a routine stretch beyond 15 hours.