Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

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  by concordgirl
 
Okay, gotcha.... just curious :-) Thanks. I guess that makes sense, bc if he had survived, they could use anything they subpoena as evidence against him later on, so yeah, the scope of what they can poke into would have to be limited...
  by icgsteve
 
concordgirl wrote:Okay, gotcha.... just curious :-) Thanks. I guess that makes sense, bc if he had survived, they could use anything they subpoena as evidence against him later on, so yeah, the scope of what they can poke into would have to be limited...
Dutch may or may not be right about what the NTSB can look at, but there are other parties and other legal venues. The text record over days and weeks might be evidence in the civil and or criminal suits against Metrolink, and a coroners inquest might be able to look at them. I doubt however that the records would ever be placed into the public domain.
  by 3rdrail
 
Dutch is fundamentally correct. A search warrant is based upon an affidavit presented to the court which must indicate specifically what is being requested and it must have direct relevance as evidence in the case at hand. This is not to say that relevant evidence in a previous but unrelated incident cannot be included - but it must be relevant to the case of which the warrant is being applied on behalf of. Since the time element to establish a connection to the crash as regards to texting would be extremely limited, I think that most judges would consider that going beyond that short period of time to be beyond the scope of the case (except an instance such as continued conversation, a call used for calibration of time, etc.).
  by Tommy Meehan
 
Sorry but Dutch can't be correct. When someone is under suspicion of causing an accident with multiple fatalities, their private life is no longer private. I have read numerous NTSB reports where they go into great detail describing what took place during someone's off-duty hours leading up to the accident. I have read hour-by-hour reconstructions. They even interview family, friends, co-workers, everybody.

I'm not a legal expert but the NTSB obviously has great powers.
  by DutchRailnut
 
Tommy the wording is PERTAINING TO THE CRASH,
Mr Sanchez phone records during his off time and any previous time do not PERTAIN TO THE CRASH.
And no judge is gone sign such a request , not for NTSB, Not for FRA, for District attorney.


Most of your cases they were looking at sleep deprivation, so yes they can interview anyone.
In Mr Sanchez case his conductor and two other witnesses confirmed Mr Sanchez slept for two hours on his midday swing.
In case of cell phone, Verizon wanted only to release the records for certain times, and judge agreed, so NTSB only got records for his on duty times that day.
  by Tommy Meehan
 
DutchRailnut wrote:They can't, they can only subpoena records directly pertaining to the accident, thats why they can also not, show or discus the time he was off duty between two half's of his shift. His private life and whatever happened on another shift does not pertain to the crash.
Okay if a judge refused to force Verizon to hand over all of Mr. Sanchez's phone records that's a little different. I got the idea Verizon would hand over anything on anyone so long as it was the Federal Govt. asking but that's another matter, not PERTAINING to this discussion! :wink:

But actually I was responding to the above. They can and they do.
  by icgsteve
 
In a suit alleging that this crash was caused in part by Metrolink for negligence by not taking action against contractors or employees of contractors who allow unsafe operation the question will come up whether Metrolink should have known that there was a problem. In this context the texting habits of this engineer will be relevant, and I would expect a judge to open up months of cell phone records for review.
  by Tommy Meehan
 
I think (and hope) the NTSB will look at his records for when he was at work or on the engine over a period of time. If he made a regular practice of texting while running the train then there's a supervision issue too.

They might even want to look at other Metrolink engineers' on-duty cellphone use as well. To see if there's widespread abuse.

One thing's for sure. If he sent a text message 22 seconds before impact that indicates he was healthy at the time, not grogged out due to his diabetes.
  by icgsteve
 
Tommy Meehan wrote:I think (and hope) the NTSB will look at his records for when he was at work or on the engine over a period of time. If he made a regular practice of texting while running the train then there's a supervision issue too.
.
Yes, the failure to properly supervise will be part of the argument that Metrolink is negligent and partly to blame for these deaths. I suspect that the contractor is shielded from liability as Metrolink is in charge of safety and had no rule against cell phone use. The estimated $200 million in judgements in this case probably will all come from Metrolink.
  by DutchRailnut
 
Metrolink operates by G.C.O.R rules which does have rules on cellphones.

1.10 Games, Reading, or Electronic Devices
Unless permitted by the railroad, employees on duty, must not:
• Play games.
• Read magazines, newspapers, or other literature not related
to their duties.
or
• Use electronic devices not related to their duties.

including this 2006 modification:

Rule 1.10 Games, Reading or Electronic Devices, the
following is added:
Crew members using cell phones/laptop computers while
on duty are governed as follows:
* All crew members are prohibited from using cell phones/
laptop computers when their train or engine is moving.
(Electronic work order reporting devices and handheld PDA
devices are to be considered as laptop computers in the
application of this rule.
* Crew members may use a cell phone when their train or
engine is stopped provided its use does not interfere with
required duties such as train inpections or switching
activities.
* If necessary for conductors to report work using a cell
phone, this must be done while the train or engine is
stopped.
Exception: Crew members of passenger trains may use a
cell phone or PDA device for business purposes while the
train is moving provided they are not in the controlling unit or
the cab room of the controlling cab ca
  by 3rdrail
 
The key word here, folks is scope. If there is a civil suit as regards to texting on Metrolink over a period of time, anything conceivably within that time frame is open to having a judge authorize a search warrant for it's record. If it's investigatory as to the cause of the crash, the window is going to be considerably smaller in scope, and therefore less of a time span would be allowed.
As regards to information regarding backgrounds, etc., which are often reported, understand that we are talking about court orders here for documents (search warrants). There are many ways to get information as well, ie. from witnesses, evidence, etc., often without the need for a court order. As regards to official documents, almost all of the time in such a matter, a court order is requested so as to make the evidence stronger in a court of law should there be a dispute as regards to the suitability of it's introduction.
And, no - with the exception of the Patriot Act, the Federal government has no more law enforcement powers than does store security at Walgreens with "Special Police" powers (within their respective jurisdictions). Constitutionally, the law applies to all law enforcement equally.
  by StevieC48
 
I see that supervision issue of the engineer might come into play on his frequency of "texting" on the job. What I want to know is are there FRA inspectors or Safety Officals ride or check up on the engineers in the cabs while on duty to make sure they are not in violation of any type of rule? Not sure how often this is done out here in the east or if it is up to the individual governing railroad to police and enforce rules and regualtions???
  by DutchRailnut
 
you have to understand that its railroad supervision, which is to enforce the rules, not the FRA.
The FRA will check that entire system works from rules to supervision, but their capacity to check is just a minimum.
if you knew how big each FRA inspectors territory is you would cringe.
we just had a supervisor leave MNCR, his FRA territory is From Camden NJ to Mannases, Virginia, from what I understand.
  by icgsteve
 
DutchRailnut wrote:you have to understand that its railroad supervision, which is to enforce the rules, not the FRA.
The FRA will check that entire system works from rules to supervision, but their capacity to check is just a minimum.
if you knew how big each FRA inspectors territory is you would cringe.
we just had a supervisor leave MNCR, his FRA territory is From Camden NJ to Mannases, Virginia, from what I understand.
and let us remember that even the FAA went to this nonsense where industry was supposed to police itself, so that the feds did not need to pay for it with government employed inspectors.... until the inevitable scandal where it turned out that the airlines did not take care of the planes as they are required to and the FAA never dealing with their lack of compliance. It well may be that the recent multiple cases of substandard engineers running reds and then running their trains into other trains will force a relook at how the FRA does business. It can't happen too soon. I would rather have that then a mandate to go to technology to make up for the lack of competence of modern railroad crews. Technolgy will not save the railroads from low quality employees, what is required is government regulation and oversight, and very stiff penalties for not doing the job right. Railroads are going to have to bite the bullet and be willing to have work rules that prioritize safety over low cost operation and that forces them to employ good people, even if good people need higher compensation levels in order to be recruited.
  by DutchRailnut
 
You touched on it, if you were to say that railroads are no longer railroads, todays operations are managed by business people, not railroaders.
They seem to think they can run trains with unskilled workers, right off the street, they seem to think that repairs come automaticly without spares in the storeroom.
why buy a 5 million dollar locomotive but give a $0.25 tour on it to get someone qualified, why teach airbrake rules when some nincompoop manager will overrule the rules.
On time performance is about 20% over safety in importance.
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