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Boston Trolley Operator Arraigned For Texting Crash

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, July 20, 2009 12:41 PM EST
Category: On The Road
Tags: Negligence, Texting, Cell Phones, Mass Transit

Trolley drive in Boston is arraigned today on gross negligence for texting while driving trolley that injured 62.


IMAGE SOURCE: Boston Herald Web site/ Aiden Quinn and accident photo

Third Incident Since May

Last May, Boston trolley operator, Aiden Quinn, 24, (not the actor) admitted he was sending a text message when he ran into another trolley injuring more than 62 people.

Today he is facing arraignment in Suffolk Superior court, charged with gross negligence by a person in control of a train.

Quinn was operating a Green Line trolley car on May 8th in the process of typing a text message to his girlfriend on his cell phone when he ran through a yellow and red warning light and plowed into the trolley in front of him. The crash caused about $9 million in damages.

Quinn broke his wrist. He was fired by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and his attorney says Quinn’s life has been shattered and he is remorseful.

Quinn has been released on personal recognizance and is expected before the court next week. He faces up to three years in prison.

The National Transportation Safety Board has blamed the incident on human error.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority initiated a new cell phone ban that includes even carrying cell phones or other personal digital assistants.

Any violation and a subway, bus, trolley, or commuter rail driver would receive a 30-day suspension with a recommendation of discharge. Carrying a cell phone or electronic organizer would cause a 10-day suspension.

The Boston Carmen’s Union challenged the ban saying in a letter that “the rule is unreasonable under the contract” with subway and trolley drivers. They asked that the ban be negotiated and some, among the 6,000 members, support some change in policy.

The MBTA accident was the first of three major railway crashes recently. Saturday afternoon two San Francisco light-rail trains collided injuring several dozen people. On June 22, a Metro train in Washington, D.C. slammed into a stopped train injuring more than 70 and killing nine people.

A failure of equipment that is supposed to detect stopped trains was noted in the days up to that crash. #

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