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MBTA Operators’ Union Objects to New Cell Phone Policy After Newton Bus Crash

A union representing workers for the MBTA is voicing its disapproval for a new state policy prohibiting operators from carrying cell phones during their shifts.

According to an article published by the Boston Globe, the Boston Carmen’s Union ATU Local 589 stated that it was “deeply disturbed” by the new policy which was put in place following a near disastrous bus crash over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Newton, where the bus was left dangling over the busy highway and seven passengers were injured. The bus driver on duty was reportedly driving with a cell phone in her hand. She was terminated after pleading not guilty to respective charges.

The new policy calls for MBTA train and bus operators to be suspended for 30 days and recommended for firing if they are caught having a cell phone with them during work hours; whether the cell phone is being used or is stored away. The previous policy, which went into effect in 2009, banned operators from possessing cell phones on the job, however the punishment was much more lenient: operators caught faced a 10-day suspension from work and were recommended for firing after two violations. This new, tougher policy now matches the same policy previously put into effect for operators who are found texting or talking on a cell phone while on duty.

While many public officials have voiced their support for the new policy, MBTA workers as well as their representing union are expressing discontent, saying that not only is the punishment too harsh, but there are also times when “alternative communications are necessary for everyone’s protection, and the MBTA has not offered a resolution to that problem,” according to the Boston Globe and the Union’s website.

MBTA ACCIDENTS

Unfortunately, the serious bus accident that occurred in Newton illustrates the dangers faced by commuters who regularly utilize public transportation. While accidents such as the one that happened last month are fairly uncommon, the potential for injury is ever-present. And in this day and age, with technology being used at an all time high, there is room for operators to be distracted while on the job.

Aside from being involved in an accident on the bus or train, passengers are also faced with the potential of being injured on the premises of the MBTA station. Slip and fall accidents are the most common type of accident to happen on an MBTA premises as many of these stations remain in an unkempt state and are plagued with issues such as broken stair rails, staircases, uneven flooring, or slippery surfaces.

If you or a loved one was involved in an MBTA accident and were injured, it is generally in your best interest to consult with an experienced legal professional to discuss your options and legal rights to collect compensation. Sometimes, unfortunately, injures sustained on the MBTA can be life-altering and prevent victims from returning to their normal schedules, including work. Victims of these types of incidents are often left wondering who is responsible for paying for their medical expenses, physical therapy and rehabilitation, lost wages, and any other emotional pain and suffering that comes along with sustaining an injury.

At the law offices of Altman & Altman, we have a team of highly experienced and knowledgeable attorneys who stand ready to assist clients through this difficult time to ultimately help them achieve the greatest compensation for their injuries and suffering. If you were recently injured in an accident, call our office today to schedule a consultation. All initial consultations are completely free and confidential, and our attorneys are available around the clock to help answer any questions you have about your case.

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