Should Train Drivers Be Allowed To Claim For Witnessing Death On Tracks?
With the recent changes to the law train drivers may no longer be able to claim compensation for not only witnessing but taking an active role into the death of a person committing suicide or trespassing.
How can this be? In 2013 alone there were 304 deaths on the train tracks which was an increase on the 2012 figures and now train drivers are no longer allowed to claim against the mental and physical injuries caused during their time at work.
Nick Douglas the last person to receive compensation after driving a train that hit a 60-year-old man is campaigning against the movement. When talking about the incident that saw Nick enter into post-traumatic stress he stated that he remembered “screaming just before impact” whilst driving at 125 mph because that station wasn’t one that the train was allocated to stop at.
Although he tried to make the train stop there was nothing he could do. For months following the accident Nick suffered from sleepless nights random spurts of tears flashbacks and feelings of isolation.
With ongoing treatment of antidepressants and two rounds of counselling Nick has regained a sense of emotional stability. Although the money made little difference to his mental health he stated relief that he could give something back to his family for the stress that they too had to endure with the way the accident impacted his life.
He also made reference to some of his friends who have also been subjected to deaths whilst driving trains. One he said has been driving a train twice when someone has jumped onto the tracks. A doctor had to be called after the second accident because his heart was beating uncontrollably fast and he was scared it was going to “explode”. This type of physical reaction demonstrates the effects that something like this can have on us that has the ability to span beyond our authority.
The fact that the Government has decided this is a part of the job that train drivers are aware of before they take it and therefore should not be allowed to claim compensation has caused uproar amongst train drivers. They disagree that it should be accepted as a possibility – after all they do not come to work thinking “today might be the day the train I’m driving hits and kills a civilian”.
They are urging the government to reconsider this law because they believe if the circumstance arises that they do bare witness to death then they are entitled to some form of compensation because they did not choose to play an integral role but are now forced to suffer the consequences.
Melissa from MLS says “many train drivers who suffer from PTSD find it extremely hard to go back to work. This is a crucial factor as to why they should be allowed compensation – their entire livelihood has been damaged at the hands of someone else.”