Distracted Driving News: NJ Transit Worker Caught Texting While Operating Train

12/06/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, US // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Newark, NJ—New Jersey Transit authorities fired a train conductor after a passenger filmed the employee texting on the job just over a week ago. According to a Dec. 1, 2010 WPIX report, a rider caught the transit worker texting with both hands as he/she operated the locomotive on the Light Rail system.

The incident yet again brings light to the dangers of distracted driving, which was cited as a factor in nearly 20 percent of all crashes in 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said.

An unidentified rider witnessed the conductor, who also remained unidentified, using both hands to text as he/she operated the train from the Branch Brook Park Station toward downtown Newark. That rider filmed the train operator’s careless actions and sent the footage to PIX News.

One displeased rider who watched the video contended, “It’s an outrage. Our life is in their hands… There could be an accident at any second and they’re looking down and won’t be able to control what’s happening.”

The transit employee was subsequently discharged from his/her position as a conductor. NJ transit released a statement in connection with the disturbing incident, which read in part:

“It is a clear violation of transit policy and it is against the law. The operator was immediately taken out of service and has been suspended indefinitely without pay.”

Hand-held devices have notably caused problems among drivers and public transit employees alike. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorists who use hand-held devices while driving are four times as likely to become involved in accidents severe enough to cause injury.

Cell phone use was not the only form of distraction cited in preventable crashes, however. Eating, drinking, and conversing with passengers, along with the use of GPS systems and other electronic devices, can also cause motorists to become distracted on the road.

NHTSA statistics show there were 5,870 traffic fatalities and an estimated 515,000 injuries related to driver distraction in 2008.

During that same year, a Metrolink train collided with a freight train in California. The train wreck claimed 25 lives and left 135 victims with various injuries.

A full probe into that particular wreck determined that the Metrolink locomotive’s conductor was texting right before he ran through a red light and crashed into the freight train.

For more information on distracted driving, please visit the following U.S. Department of Transportation website.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan– Legal News for Personal Injury Lawyers.

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Url: Sandra Quinlan: West Palm Beach Injury News