Saturday, May 9, 2009
Text Messaging Trolley Crash Prompts Cellphone Ban
About 50 people were injured, non critically, when two trolleys collided in Boston because a conductor was detracted because he was text messaging.
Now the head the MTA is saying, conductors and drivers can no longer even carry cellphones on them. How absurd.
To turn a phrase oft-repeated by gun advocates: cellphones don't hurt people, people text messaging while driving hurt people.
Prohibiting MTA workers from even carrying cellphones, which they may actually need in a time of emergency, is a gross overreaction to the problem.
Just a few minutes ago, stopped in traffic along congested Route 35 in central New Jersey (a state which prohibits using any hand held communication device while driving), my heart jumped into my throat when the guy in an over sized SUV nearly rear-ended me because he was busy text messaging while driving.
Well, I have text messaging on my phone - and presumably - so do all the other drivers around me at the time. And neither I, nor, as far as I could tell were any of them, text messaging while driving. But, using MTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas' logic, we all should all be locking our cellphones in a safe box at home when we head out to drive.
I might note that the MTA's rules prohibited cellphone use while operating a vehicle on duty already. So this is clearly a case of one guy violating the rules with results that could very well have been tragic.
I'm going to guess that this new rule will be as unenforceable as the last. Like the conductor who texted against the regulations, there will be drivers and conductors who will pocket easily concealable cellphones when they go to work.
They just had better never use them to dial 911 in an emergency. That could cost them their jobs.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/themarshmellowgirl/2284638091/