Several news items regarding the crash in Germany on 22 September 2006. Seems that the train was on a trial run and crashed into a maintenance truck that was on the tracks. The presence of the truck had been noted in a handwritten log by controllers, but automatic detection did not work.
The suggestion that human error was to blame is being made. This seems inevitable, at least a failure of communication between truck, controllers and train. Knowing this on its own won't really help us make it any safer.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is quoted as saying "At this point I don't see any connection with the technology. The technology is a very, very safe technology." People tend to think that technology and automation eliminate the possibility of human error. The reality is they change the opportunities, and often whilst the likelihood may be reduced the potential consequences are often much greater.
Articles from Reuters