NEWARK, NJ (WPIX)—A NJ Transit train operator was suspended after a video exclusively obtained by PIX News, captured the transit employee texting while operating a train on the transit's Light Rail system.
The video, which shows the conductor texting with both hands on what appears to be a Blackberry, was recorded Sunday afternoon by an attentive PIX viewer while traveling between the Branch Brook Park Station toward downtown Newark.
"It's an outrage. Our life is in their hands," one rider told PIX News after watching the shocking video. "There could be an accident at any second and they're looking down and won't be able to control what's happening."
A spokesperson for NJ Transit released a statement Tuesday, assuring that the employee was immediately reprimanded for his careless behavior captured on video.
"It is a clear violation of transit policy and it is against the law. The operator was immediately taken out of service and has been suspended indefinitely without pay," the statement said.
The employee in question was not immediately identified.
Transit officials across the country have been cracking down on texting conductors following a series of fatal accidents that could have been prevented.
In 2008, a conductor operating a Metrolink train in California crashed into a freight train, killing 25 and injuring 135 passengers. An investigation determined that the operator was texting just before he flew through a red signal and slammed into the train.
In 2009, texting was initially suspected as the cause of a crash in Washington D.C. involving a Metro train where nine people died and 80 others were injured. An investigation later determined texting played no role.
Tell Greg Mocker what it's like on your commute, send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.