Trn Eng Txting Scnds B4 Crsh
You’d think that with all the text messaging bans and new hands-free cellphone usage laws being adopted these days a motorist would know better than to text while driving, especially if that motorist also happens to be a commuter train engineer.
Tragically, that’s not the case.
The Metrolink engineer responsible for the worst U.S. train crash in the last decade sent and received 45 text messages while helming his train the day of the deadly collision in California last month–including one just moments before running a red signal and crashing head-on into a freight train. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the last message the engineer received was at 4:21:03, more than a minute before the accident. The last one he sent was at 4:22:01, just 22 seconds before the trains, traveling at some 40 miles an hour, collided.
Rail experts were aghast at the news. “For me, it just gives me heart palpitations thinking about it,” said Tim Smith, California chairman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. “The last thing you want to be doing is something that takes your eyes off the road.”