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MBTA Suspends Drivers for Cell Phone Use on the Job

In Boston, Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) officials say the agency has suspended several bus and trolley drivers for texting or talking on their cell phones while on the job. Since May 28, when a trolley crash in Newton killed a driver, the MBTA has suspended nine employees. Their suspensions range from three to ten days, which is the maximum punishment short of termination.

A train accident in California last month reminded the public of the dangers of distracted train operators. Federal investigators went public with their finding that a train operator had sent a text message just 22 seconds before he collided with an oncoming train, killing 25 people. Last week, a Green Line trolley operator lost his job after he was captured on camera with his son and nephew at the controls of the train.

Rene Mardones, a community organizer for the T Riders Union said he agrees with the MBTA’s decision to crack down on cell phone use. “It’s going to improve the performance of the drivers because they’ll be more focused on what they’re supposed to do.”

T suspends 9 drivers for using phones, Associated Press, October 3, 2008
MBTA suspends 9 for cell phone use, Boston Herald, October 3, 2008
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