Operators on Metro train stations will be monitored by video cameras in order to ensure that they are complying with the new ban on cell phones. The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted last week to enact a regulation that prohibits rail transit operators in the state from using new or old cell phones or any other type of electronic communications device while working. Any employee who is directly involved with the operation of rail systems is affected by the new regulation.
“The CPUC is sending a clear message to operators tempted by the attraction of cell phone use – it’s not worth it. You will be held accountable,” says Commissioner Mike Florio. Operators are not being banned for having cell phones with them, but the devices must be turned off and stowed while they are on the job. Rafael Cabrera, the union chief for Muni operators, said he had not yet seen the details of the new regulation and refused to comment.
An emergency ban on cell phone use was first enacted three years ago back in 2008 following a train crash in Los Angeles that injured over 100 people and killed 25, with the locomotive engineer found to have been sending a text with his cell phone when the disaster happened. Now the rule has been made permanent, and surveillance cameras placed in the cabs in order to ensure that operators comply.