Los Angeles – September 2008
A commuter train that failed to stop for a red signal resulted in the nation’s deadliest commuter train wreck in the last 40 years. Grieving relatives of the dead and injured learned that this horrendous tragedy was caused by a Metrolink engineer who ran a red light.
The fatal mistake put the train on a 40-mph, head-on-collision course with a Union Pacific freight train, resulting in 25 people dead, another 135 injured, twisted wreckage, mangled steel, smoldering metal, and scattered belongings.
When the train ran the red light, it triggered an emergency signal. A warning call was sent to the train from a Metrolink dispatch center, but it was too late, the call was answered up by a surviving crew member seconds after the crash who said the crash had already happened.
Two teenagers had told a local television station they had been exchanging text messages with the engineer just prior to the collision. Early investigation results indicate the engineer was text messaging and missed the red light indicating the train needed to stop and to allow another train to utilize common tracks ahead.
This tragic story highlights that the use of cell phones while doing other tasks can have deadly consequences. Whether you’re driving or working in a production environment, the use of a cell phone distracts your mind and sometimes your eyes away from the task at hand. Even though Metrolink had a policy forbidding the use of cell phones while working, the engineer ignored it.
How about you? If you need to utilize your cell phone only use it out of the production area in the cafeteria, office, hallways or outside.