JusticeNewsFlash.com, Los Angles, California – After the deadliest train crash in the United States in 15 years, top rail safety regulators are seeking an emergency order that would ban train operators from using cell phones while operating trains. Even though Metrolink prohibits rail workers from using cell phones on the job, there is no existing federal regulation regarding the use of cell phones by railroad employees. Although, in 2003, the NTSB recommended that the Federal Railroad Administration regulate the use of cell phones by railroad employees. This came into play after investigators learned that a coal train engineer’s phone use caused the accident in which two freight trains collided head-on near Clarendon, Texas in May 2002. Unfortunately, the coal train engineer was killed and the conductor and engineer of the other train were critically injured.
Additionally, California lawmakers are urging Governor Schwarzenegger to sign a bill that would prohibit the use of cellular phones while driving. Text messaging and making phone calls are extremely distracting to the driver and could have serious consequences. Four states have already voted to pass this law: Alaska, Minnesota, New Jersey and Washington. It is encouraging that at least 16 other states are considering it as well. If it is illegal to use cellular phones while driving your own car, why is it not illegal when operating a train full of people? The potential number of injuries is much higher in trains than in motor vehicles. There must be some enactment, whether it comes from the 220 damaged victims and families of the recent Metrolink crash, or from lawmakers who are aware of this danger – changes must be made. This is not to say that if a law was passed, train crashes would never happen, but the level of safety and lives preserved would increase drastically. Carelessness cannot be permitted when operating any kind of motorized vehicle, especially one carrying so many fragile lives.