A rider on the NJ Transit Newark Light Rail shot cell phone video of their train operator allegedly texting while driving the train. The cell phone video shows the operator touching the keypad while looking down as the train is moving along the tracks.
The rider, who wants to stay anonymous, says it’s not the first time he’s seen a train operator use a cell phone or become distracted while driving the train. The distracted train driving, says the rider, leads to delays, which leads to passengers missing connections.
"You shouldn't be texting while driving a car and you definitely shouldn't be texting while driving a train particularly with all these people on board it's very dangerous," said Bill Slezak who rides the Newark Light Rail.
We showed the video to NJ Transit who confirmed it was one of their train operators.
“This is a clear violation of NJ Transit's policy and against the law. The operator was immediately taken out of service and has been suspended indefinitely without pay,” NJ Transit spokesperson Dan Stessel.
The cell phone video comes just two weeks after NBC New York exposed several mass transit drivers in New Jersey multi-tasking while behind the wheel.
"What could happen in that one two or three seconds is potentially catastrophic," said Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy.
NBC New York cameras captured drivers from a company subcontracted by NJ Transit eating and reading newspapers while driving busses full of passengers.
In Hudson County they have even set up a task force to monitor the one-dollar private shuttle vans-we found some of their drivers were also on the phone while on the road.
“A distracted driver is a dangerous driver,” said Hudson County Prosecutor Ed DeFazio.
NJ Transit says it encourages riders to take photos or shoot video of bus drivers and train operators who are using cell phones, eating, reading newspapers, or taking part in any activity that may distract them while driving.