Tunnel crashes – too easy, just blame the drivers and let the designers off

The Victorian Coroner recommends that “…future road tunnels requires a design that incorporates an emergency lay-by…”

Here is the finding and a news article Coroner pushes for ban on tunnel lane changes (ABC News 30 January 2013).

The truck driver, David Kalwig went to jail [R v Kalwig [2009] VSC 373 (1 September 2009)].

The Victorian Coroner says that tunnels should have emergency lanes.  Big deal.  We knew that already.  This tunnel didn’t have one.  A cheap shortcut.  Yet the driver of the truck gets the blame – someone with seconds to make a decision.  Yet those with years to plan, procure and approve the design get no blame.

Blame the driver, the worker, the pilot – whoever is closest.  It is the easiest.  Paraphrasing from Trevor Kletz: blaming these accidents on operator error is true – and useless.


Eastern Freeway (not the crash site) with emergency lanes built decades earlier

About John Culvenor

Hi, Thank you for taking a look at this blog. I work in engineering, ergonomics, creativity, design, training, etc. Often this is about helping solve legal puzzles through accident analysis. Sometimes it is about thinking up better designs for equipment, workplaces, and systems. This blog is about good design and bad design, accident analysis and how it can be done better, and how we can make a better, safer world by design!
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1 Response to Tunnel crashes – too easy, just blame the drivers and let the designers off

  1. Pingback: Should safety work be done fast or slow? | safedesign

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