Santiago crash: Spain bans drivers’ mobile use

Spain will ban mobile phone use by train drivers except in cases of emergencies after a train flew off the rails and killed 79 people in July, the government said on Tuesday.

Santiago crash: Spain bans drivers' mobile use
The driver of a train that crashed on July 24th just outside the city of Santiago de Compostela was on a mobile telephone just before the train flew off the tracks. File photo: Rafa Rivas

"All calls will be centralized and the use of a mobile phone will be limited to specific calls and only in cases of emergencies," Public Works Minister Ana Pastor told a news conference.

The government will also require trains to install data recording "black boxes" like those used in planes that record conversations by the driver as well as the speed the train is travelling, the minister added.

The driver of a train that crashed on July 24th just outside the northern city of Santiago de Compostela was speaking on a mobile telephone to a colleague on-board just before the train flew off the tracks and ploughed into a concrete wall, coming to rest in a mangled heap.

The eight carriage train was hurtling around a bend at 179 kph (111 mph), more than twice the speed limit, when it derailed.

It was the country's deadliest train accident in decades.

The driver has been provisionally charged with multiple counts of negligent homicide.

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