LAWRENCE — Paul Atchley, professor of psychology at University of Kansas, is available to speak with reporters about the recent, fatal Metro-North derailment in New York City. Atchley is a world-renowned expert on issues of vision and attention related to transportation. He currently leads a multidisciplinary research team dealing with issues of driver distraction and vehicle design.
Regarding the Metro-North incident, Atchley said, “Essentially, this is what we call ‘mind wandering’ — that’s the scientific term for spacing out. The operator was more than likely just inattentive. He probably was well-rested and capable of operating the train just fine. But he was engaged in routine behavior, the same thing over and over again. We all space out once in a while. He just did it at a very bad moment in time.”
Atchley can be reached by phone at 785-843-1189 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.