Letter : Safety lessons

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You reflect on the impact of privatisation on safety on the railways ("Safety must still come first", 11 August). The aviation industry achieves high standards of safety in the context of widely shared responsibilities. In concept, therefore, there is no reason why rail safety cannot be similarly and satisfactorily addressed. This said, it may require more than the short-term attention which follows an accident such as that near Watford. The regulatory systems that underpin the air transport industry have their origins in concepts set down more than 50 years ago. Design, maintenance, operation, and accident investigation are all addressed in a coherent framework which has displayed notable durability. There is no reason why similar concepts cannot be applied in any public transport endeavour. Any such review should take account of the safety cultures that exist abroad and from which we may learn.

M B Benoy

Dorking, Surrey

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