Updated August. 13, 2014 05:44
It has been turned out that the engine driver who caused the head-on train collision on the Taebaek Line in Gangwon Province, on July 22 had often used mobile phones while driving in violation of his company rules. The direct cause of the accident was the engine drivers carelessness. The driver sent KakaoTalk instant messages while holding a driving lever in his right hand and his mobile phone in his left hand.
Prosecutors charged the driver, surnamed Shin, of the O-Train, a sightseeing train (which loops around the central inland region), for professional negligence resulting in injury and blockage in train traffic on Tuesday. The 49-year-old driver was supposed to stop at Mungok Station for crossing at 5:49 p.m. on July 22, but ignored the stop sign and passed the station. As a result, the train collided with the Mugunghwa passenger train on the single rail, killing one passenger and injuring 93.
Prosecutors found that Shin violated the internal regulation of the Korea Railway Corporation that the driver must turn off his mobile phone while driving. He sent pictures to and exchanged messages with his friend via KakaoTalk since 5:35 p.m. when he got on the train. His last message was sent at 5:43 p.m., six minutes before the accident. They also analyzed Shins mobile phone records and found that he used his mobile phone 134 times out of 191 journeys.
Prosecutors said that Shin ignored all safety devices including the stop signal at Mungok Station, radio messages from the control man at Taebaek Station, and alerts from the automatic shutoff system.