An earlier post discussed the recent Virgina Tech study linking drivers distracted by cell phone usage to serious motor vehicle accidents. Today, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) took note by issuing new rules designed to prevent CTA drivers from being distracted by using cell phones or other personal electronic devices. The new rules are designed to prevent distracted CTA drivers from causing serious train or bus accidents in Chicago.
Specifically, the CTA rules, effective immediately, ban train conductors, operators, railroad maintenance workers and rail station customer assistance workers from using or carrying cell phones or personal digital assistants (PDAs), such as iPods, BlackBerry decices, Palm devices, other MP3 music players, wireless headsets or other devices.
CTA workers who violate the new rules face a “zero tolerance” policy, including suspensions and possible termination. Indeed, CTA officials insist that one violation could lead to a CTA train operator or bus driver being fired immediately.
These new rules are clearly designed to prevent catastrophic train crashes or bus accidents caused by distracted CTA drivers. CTA officials, including CTA President Richard Rodriguez, stated that the new rules are in response to recent serious transit accidents, which were seemingly caused by transit operators distracted by cell phone or PDA usage. According to Mr. Rodriguez, “the temptation to check text messages (or otherwise use a cell phone or PDA device while driving) is just too great.”
A separate, less stringent rule applies to CTA bus drivers. Specifically, bus operators are prohibited from using cell phones or other electronic devices unless the driver is using a cell phone to contact the control center after the bus is completely stopped. The CTA adopted separate rules for bus drivers because they are not given company cell phones or radios, with the exception of an emergency communication system available on every bus. Conversely, CTA train operators are issued company cell phones and rail communication radios.
To speak with a top CTA train and bus accident lawyer, contact Passen & Powell at (312) 527-4500.