'Lapse by driver of Luas' led to crash with bus
A "MOMENTARY lapse in concentration" resulted in a major collision between a Luas tram and bus which left 21 people in hospital.
An investigation report into the 2009 crash says it was caused by a tram driver passing through a stop signal without permission.
The driver, Oruyomi Emmanuel, was acquitted of dangerous driving at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last April after the court heard there were "gaps" in the evidence and it would be unsafe to allow a jury to decide on the case.
He is still employed on the light-rail system, but no longer as a driver.
On September 16, 2009, at 2.55pm, a Luas tram operating from Tallaght to Connolly station collided with a Dublin Bus at the junction of Abbey Street and O'Connell Street.
Twenty passengers and the driver were injured, three seriously. Services were not restored until the next day.
A report from the Rail Accident Investigation Unit (RAIU) says the crash was caused because the tram moved forward at the junction despite signals not giving the go-ahead. It resulted in the No 16 bus smashing into the driver's cab, derailing the tram and causing "substantial" damage to both vehicles.
The tram driver suffered concussion and abrasions.
The following June, Mr Emmanuel was charged with driving offences and the RAIU probe was suspended.
Last May, after his acquittal, the RAIU sought further evidence in possession of the gardai and it was provided last September, allowing the investigation to be re-opened.
The report said the tram did not have permission to proceed at the O'Connell Street junction, adding the signal system did not have any faults.
The driver had been fully qualified since December 2005, and had been retrained and certified as competent.
"As a stop aspect was displayed for the tram and it was demonstrated during reconstruction that the tram driver had a clear and unobstructed view of the signal impact, it can be concluded that the tram driver initiated the movement of the tram through the junction without a proceed signal," the investigation concluded.
"The immediate cause of this collision was as a result of a lapse in concentration by the tram driver."