The news of another train collision was frightening and unwelcome. This time in Washington, D.C., on the Metro commuter trains.One train rear-ended another on the same track which, obviously, is not supposed to happen and you can bet doesn’t happen absent someone’s negligence or carelessness. The crash resulted in the loss of nine lives and injuries to 80 other passengers.
How do you miss a full size commuter train on the track ahead of you?
Could the answer be the train operator was texting while driving? It’s too early to tell, but if it turns out it’s because the at-fault train operator was texting while driving, I won’t be shocked and I’ll say you heard it here first. When I first heard of this horrible tragedy, I immediately thought of the MARTA train operator here in Atlanta who was caught texting while he was supposed to have been operating the train. But a diligent MARTA passenger caught him red-handed.
In the D. C. crash, investigators already expect “operator error” because there is simply no explanation for why the operator didn’t throw on the train’s emergency brake to try to stop it from plowing into the train ahead of it, yet the emergency brake appears not to have been used. I certainly hope the investigators obtain that operator’s cell phone records immediately, which would indisputably show whether the operator was either on the cell phone or texting at the time of the crash. This is the procedure I follow in nearly all of my motor vehicle accident cases here in Atlanta, Georgia. My money’s on texting. It has become a rampant problem, especially for operators of common carriers, e.g., buses or trains. Let’s watch the reports carefully to see if there arises any evidence of texting while operating the train.
Which begs the question: What is MARTA’s policy on train operators using their cell phones while supposedly operating a train? Do they even have one? Why haven’t MARTA officials reassured the Atlanta, Georgia riding public that their trains are safe? The silence is deafening.