The Sun – ‘Ramadan train driver in crash’, 20 August 2016
The Sun ran a story following RAIB’s publication of a safety digest on a derailment that took place at Paddington on 16 June 2016.
The article reported that a Muslim train driver had run through a double red light, causing his train to derail, hit a gantry and bring down powerlines. It claimed that the driver “crashed after going without food or drink for 15 hours during Ramadan”. It reported that “rail accident experts claimed his fast caused the rush-hour derailment”.
The article went on to report that the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) was “unable to conclude that fasting was a factor in the crash. But it pointed out studies showed not eating can cause ‘sleepiness and reduction in concentration which can result in safety concerns’”. The article also reported that the company operating the train in question had said that its drivers were “regularly briefed and monitored for competence”.
RAIB was one of several complainants to IPSO.
The complaint was upheld. The online version of the story was removed. On 19 November, a printed correction appeared on page 2 of The Sun.
In a story ‘Ramadan Train Driver in Crash’ (20 Aug) we implied that Rail Accident Investigation Branch said the cause of the derailment at Paddington was that the driver had been fasting during Ramadan. In fact they were unable to conclude that fasting was a factor in the crash on evidence available, although they observed that there is research showing that fasting can affect people’s concentration levels. It was also stated that the driver of a derailed train ran through TWO red lights at London’s Paddington Station. In fact the two red lights were on the same signal. We are happy to clarify.
Read the full IPSO decision.