With the massive public relations campaign against texting and driving sweeping the airwaves, one would think an individual operating a train would know better than to engage in such a distracting activity.
Apparently not, according to one man who caught the operator of his Blue Line train in Chicago texting during rush hour for multiple stops.
CBS2 Chicago relates:
“It took me a couple of stops where I watched her do this before I realized, is this really what she is doing?” said the rider, who asked that his identity not be revealed.
After the passenger witnessed the CTA operator using her cell phone several times while the train was moving along the tracks, he decided to document the behavior using his own cell phone. The video he took shows the train operator texting with her left hand while the train was in motion.
“When a person is trying to do two things and they are not paying attention to what they are looking at, that’s an accident waiting to happen,” the passenger says.
CBS2 Chicago has more, including the video of the woman texting:
The CTA is stressing that there are emergency safeguards in place in case the train's operator becomes incapacitated, but says it has a zero tolerance policy for something like texting.
“The CTA is doing a very thorough investigation of this matter and we are pursuing discipline up to and including discharge,” CTA spokesman Brian Steele remarked.
CBS notes that a Boston trolley conductor texting his girlfriend caused a crash that injured 49 people in 2009, and a Los Angeles commuter rail crashed into a freight train in 2008, killing 25 people, just after the operator sent a text message.
“The drivers have a lot of people riding their trains,” the CTA passenger warned. “They need to be aware that there’s a lot of peoples’ lives on their trains. An accident won’t just hurt them; it could hurt a lot of people who ride the trains every day.”