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Text Messages banned on California Trains

September 18th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

So did you catch the latest round of news about the California train crash?

It is official that text messaging is being banned on California Metrolink Trains while on duty.  According to a report by the California Public Utilities Commission that the train Engineer, Frank Sanchez, sent text messages while on the job.  As of now there is no indication whether Sanchez sent messages around the time of the accident or not.

The only way to guarantee the ban will be followed is to bar cell phones and messaging devices.  But in the event of communication system failure a Cellphone may serve as a good back up.  I know having a cellphone has saved my hide a time or two.  There are other security issues that have been addressed over time such as the Columbine Shootings and other emergency situations.  In a decision public safety should be the number 1 priority.  This will be interesting to watch to see how other industry and businesses react.

Engineer in Deadly LA Train Crash Was Texting

From the Washington Post

Less than a week after one of the worst train accidents in recent U.S. history, California officials today issued a temporary order banning train operators from using cell phones on duty.

Federal transportation authorities say the engineer of a Southern California commuter train who ran a red light and slammed into a freight train last Friday — killing 25 people and injuring more than 130 others — was text-messaging on his cell phone. The engineer, Robert Sanchez, who died in the crash, never hit his brakes. [Ed. note: Corrected from original post that identified Sanchez as the conductor.]

Officials say they are investigating a report from a TV station, CBS2, that two 14-year-old boys exchanged messages with the engineer moments before the accident.

Today, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously passed an emergency order to ban the use of cell phones and other personal electronic devices while operating a train.

The National Transportation Safety Board in Washington said today that “records … indicate that the engineer had sent and received text messages on the day of the accident, including some while he was on duty.”

Federal investigators also are looking into whether Sanchez’s back-to-back, split-shift workdays on the Metrolink commuter system, which began before dawn and ended at 9 p.m., could have played a role in the crash.