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Train wreck caused by texting a girlfriend

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  • Train wreck caused by texting a girlfriend

    My brother works for the Los Angeles MTA and hears about all the mishaps in the world's transit systems. He forwarded me this story about a light rail crash in Boston caused by the driver texting his girlfriend and rear-ending another train at speed.

    The responses below the article object to the driver's young age, but Boston is home to multiple colleges that will depress its average age, and I've seen plenty of human interest stories lauding the youthful age of various prodigies (eg. teen mayors, or teen opera singers), so I just don't buy that age should be blamed here.

    Should cell phones be blamed? Should we ban cell phone possession in safety-critical positions? Presumably the train is equipped with a communications system suitable for work-related emergency reporting, and passengers will have phones should it fail.

    The texting was to a girlfriend. Is romance to blame? We could "chemically castrate" all drivers so their hormones don't get in the way of their performance.
    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

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  • #2
    Re: Train wreck caused by texting a girlfriend

    We're actually talking about this a bit more in Highway Design (it involves a facet of transportation, so its connected).

    And the current ruling for MBTA workers is that they are not to have cell phones in their possessions while working. Sure, it sounds like a pretty unfair ruling, but if you're driving a train, you're responsible for many other lives other than your own.

    It wasn't necessarily the cell phone to blame, it was the driver, not paying attention. There was a straight distance of about 480' in which he could see the stopped car ahead, and a red stop signal as well which he did not see. If he did his job, which he was hired to do, there would be no issue, cell phone or not.

    He was young yes, but its not really age that is the issue, its experience. A 35 year old starting on the same day as a 24 year old would have no advantage over the 24 year old.

    I don't have a source, but in class we were discussing various aspects of this, and one student brought up some info: this employee had a history of incidents in the past. In my opinion, the T's management is to blame as well as the driver; they allowed him to operate the train.

    As for the comment about supressing romance, well, do we see NASA flight control officials texting their wives and loved ones? Airline pilots playing snake on their cell phones while flying a jetliner? I haven't heard of incidents and would hope not.




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