Trains. Texting. Taboo?

Train collision possibly due to texting
Train collision possibly due to texting

Two trains collided in suburban Los Angeles Friday afternoon.  The wreckage left 25 people dead, and at least 130 others injured.  And in just a dayin the aftermath, fault has all but been issued.  Metrolink, the company that operates one of the trains has attributed the engineer failed to stop at a stop signal before the collision with an oncoming freight train.

The National Transportation Safety Board, who is investigating the crash, as the do with many transportation crashes of this nature, said they are looking into reports that the engineer was sending text messages just moments before the accident happened.  Naturally, many are up in arms, angry at the thought of this senseless accident happening when it could have been prevented.  Carelessness is the cause of many vehicle accidents.  Time and time again car accidents happened when someone is on the phone, texting, or doing anything their not supposed to be doing but paying attention.  This time, if the reports of texting while operating the train are true, then this would be the first of its nature. 

Relatives of one of the 25 are now looking put forth a lawsuit in efforts to use this tragedy as a way to bring change.  But change of what?  Are they looking to get train engineers to stop using mobile devices when operating a train?  Well without knowing their job, what they do, or how to operate a train, I think it’s safe to say that they shouldn’t do that anyway.  That goes for anyone operating any type of vehicle or vessel in an open path where others travel.  Whether its trains, planes, boats, cars, etc, one would think its obvious that it shouldn’t happen.  Now I cannot say that there are rules or laws in those certain cases that prevent it, but it would bring us to a new level of enlightenment.

Will all the states of our country eventually have laws to prohibit cell phone use in certain cases?  Well in certain cases it is necessary.  Only two states have a ban on texting while driving.  Similar bills in other states are in the works (if not passed already).  But some opponents, like the ACLU, say that the legislation is slanted.  Mobile phone use, specifically texting looks to be more of a generational thing.  An estimated 20 percent of drivers send or receive text messages while driving, but that number triples for the drivers who are in the 18 to 24 years of age range. 

Not for nothin’, the families of the victims of the train collision accident could sue and get a nice sum of money on a settlement, but as far as changing policy of usage of mobile devices could be more of an uphill battle than what many may think.  This careless accident and hundreds of other vehicle accidents could have been prevented, but actual legislation on a ban, while seems easily done in respects to these accidents, will not be a slam dunk. 

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