November 2, 2011 | Mark Paradies

Tugboat Pilot Gets One Year in Jail. Will This Keep Future Accidents From Happening?

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A CNN story says:

The distracted tugboat pilot who crashed a barge into a sightseeing “duck boat,” killing two tourists, was sentenced Tuesday to a year and a day in prison for his role in the incident, federal prosecutors said.

The story also said:

Devlin admitted that he was distracted by his cell phone and laptop for an extended period of time before the collision, that he piloted the Caribbean Sea from its lower wheelhouse where he had significantly reduced visibility and that he did not maintain a proper lookout or comply with other essential rules of seamanship, according to federal prosecutors.

But there is more …

The morning of the accident, on July 7, 2010, Devlin’s 6-year-old son was undergoing routine eye surgery when he experienced complications including a laryngospasm — which led to partial oxygen deprivation for eight minutes. Devlin’s wife said she panicked and called her husband, who was at the controls of the tug at the time, according to KYW.

And even more …

The sightseeing “duck boat” was anchored in the shipping channel after being shut down because the boat’s operator saw smoke and feared an onboard fire.

Multiple causal factors and probably multiple opportunities to avoid this fatal accident.

Now the question:

Will Prison Time Keep Future Accidents From Happening?

The story ended with:

Lawyers who represented the families of the two victims released a statement in July saying the families ‘are gratified that federal prosecutors have acted to hold one of the responsible parties accountable in this tragedy that should have been avoided.‘”

Should we seek prison time for those involved in accidents?

That’s one of the topics we are tackling at the 2012 Global TapRooT® Summit.

Two people who have faced criminal prosecution will discuss their personal experience in the “Criminal Prosecution of Accidents” session in the Leading Performance Improvement Track. To see the track schedule, click on the button for that track at:

If you are a leader of performance improvement efforts at your company, I hope to see your there.

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