Texting Blamed In Boston Trolley Crash

Massachusetts state legislators are looking anew at a bill outlawing cell phone texting while operating any vehicle following an incident that injured 49 passengers.
Massachusetts state legislators are looking anew at a bill outlawing cell phone texting while operating any vehicle in the wake of a trolley crash in which 49 people were injured in Boston over the weekend.

The driver of one of the trolleys in the two-trolley crash was sending a text message to his girlfriend when his trolley rear-ended the other, according to reports from the scene.

State Sen. Joseph Wagner, who last year filed legislation seeking to ban texting while operating any vehicle, said he has reintroduced similar legislation.

The crash created a scene of pandemonium after the two trolleys were derailed and passengers tossed about the carriages. None of the injuries was considered life-threatening.

"It's difficult for me to contain my outrage," said Daniel A. Grabauskas, general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, according to media reports. "We let our employees know there is a zero-tolerance policy for any type of electronic device."

The Boston crash was the latest in a series of vehicle collisions in which texting by drivers was believed to be a factor. The most glaring incident occurred in Los Angeles suburb Chatsworth last September when a MetroLink train collided with another train, killing 25 and injuring 130 others. Public-safety officials said the driver of one of the trains was texting when the train he was driving crashed into a freight train.

Driving while texting has been taken up by state lawmakers on a state-by-state basis. Currently, 10 states and the District of Columbia ban drivers from texting while driving. Several other states are considering the issue.

In Massachusetts, the House approved a ban on texting last year, but the issue never came before the state Senate for a vote.

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