Efforts of Georgia Residents Can Help Prevent MARTA Train Accidents


May 19, 2011

Train service to the Kensington MARTA station was suspended last month after a MARTA train hit a man. Without many witnesses and with the investigation ongoing, it is not clear at this time whether the man was pushed, fell or jumped onto the tracks.

The operator of the MARTA passenger train may have even been texting at the time of the accident. It would not be the first time. Recently, a commuter snapped a photo of a MARTA driver using his cell phone to send a text message while he was driving a train full of passengers!

Commuters are no longer just passengers, but they are observant investigators protecting their safety and the safety of other passengers. The man responsible for the photo, a passenger on the train, had witnessed an operator of one of the trains reading a book the month before. He decided that he had to do something.

Texting while operating a MARTA vehicle is against company policy according to Andrea Coleman, spokesperson for MARTA. Unfortunately, the punishment is limited to placing the operator on administrative leave WITH PAY until an investigation can be conducted. Effectively, the MARTA train operator gets a paid vacation while MARTA tries to determine why the train collided with the train accident victim.

All one needs to do to understand the magnitude of the risk associated with a MARTA train operator texting while operating a MARTA train is to consider a few recent commuter train accidents. In Los Angeles last year, a Metrolink operator was texting and was so distracted that he blew through a stop signal and crashed into another train. He was killed along with 25 others while another 138 people were injured.

A trolley operator in Boston was texting while driving and rear-ended another trolley. The trolleys were thrown completely off their tracks and 49 people were injured.

Some cities with the help of dedicated citizens have begun to fight back against this type of irresponsible conduct and ineffective sanctions. The Washington Metro implemented a new policy on texting in 2009 after a passenger recorded one of its operators using a cell phone on duty and posted the video on YouTube. The commuter line's old policy was a three strikes policy on sending text messages. The first offense would result in a five-day suspension while the second would result in a 10-day suspension. A commuter train operator would not be subject to termination until a third offense. It took exposure of the embarrassing photo before a new zero tolerance policy was enacted. Under the zero tolerance policy, a commuter train conductor will be fired immediately if caught using any mobile phone or handheld device while on duty.

These vigilant passengers who are documenting instances of texting while operating commuter trains are actually working to make metro lines like MARTA safer. As a passenger on MARTA trains, Atlanta residents and those in the surrounding areas trust that MARTA train operators will not engage in unsafe conduction like texting while operating a MARTA train. If you are the victim of a MARTA train crash, MARTA train accident, or MARTA train wreck anywhere in Georgia and have suffered serious injuries, we urge you to contact us at Montlick and Associates so that we can evaluate your case and advise you regarding your right to financial compensation for your injuries. We have been representing people injured in MARTA bus and train accidents, and bus and train accidents involving other companies, for over 27 years.

Our experienced Georgia MARTA train accident injury lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24 hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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