State regulators have voted to prohibit California train drivers from using cell phones after a fatal crash in Northern Los Angeles triggered by texting.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Thursday reached an accord that bars the use of any cell phones, pagers and other electronic devices by rail transit personnel, making a contemporary emergency order given in September 2008 of everlasting effect.
Federal regulators already have issued such an order for national rails. The ban in California has been expanded to regional lines such as LA Metro, the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, and San Diego trolley.
The ban was issued in the wake of two deadly train collisions in 2008. According to the CPUC, both disasters were possibly caused by train drivers using their cell phones.
Cameras also will be installed in the train operator cab to empower the rule. It will increase the safety of passengers and rail crews by enforcing the rule, CPUC said. Agencies have been given three years to place the cameras.
The rule points out that video recording from the cameras must be checked regularly as requested by a compliance program.
It also establishes an unforgiving program, which forces responsibility on operators and violation may cause discharge from their position.