In news that will thrill sometime STB troll Sam, Metro is immediately banning use of all portable electronic devices while operating vehicles. This includes all Sound Transit service operated by Metro, such as certain ST Express routes and Central Link.
All such devices must be turned off and stowed off the person of the operator while the vehicle is in motion, and when the operator reports for work. The device can be turned on and used during breaks.
Penalties include a minimum suspension and termination. Now if only they could do something about riders yelling into their mobile phones!
Full text of the notice to operators after the jump.
August 25, 2009
Personal Electronic Devices
Due to an increasing nationwide concern for use of electronic devices by coach and rail operators, we are revising our policy regarding use of electronic devices on coaches.
A “Personal Electronic Device” (PED) is any device having an on/off switch, for example a cell phone, Bluetooth earpiece, pager, mp3 player, or video game, not issued by Metro.
Safety is our number one priority!
Distracted driving is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes, according to a landmark research report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). Nearly 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event; and the primary cause of driver inattention are distracting activities, such as cell phone use, and drowsiness. Reducing unnecessary driver distractions and improving safety is a shared responsibility of both the driver and the transit agency. You could lose your job; and Metro could get sued over significant accidents caused by inattention.
The New Policy
A PED shall not be used while operating a coach. Use of a PED while operating a coach is a major infraction and will result in termination.
All PED’s shall be turned off and stowed out of sight and off your person while operating a coach. Failure to properly stow a PED while operating a coach will result in a suspension on the first occurrence, and termination on the second occurrence.
Operators are to have all PED’s properly stowed off their person when signing in for work.
PED’s may be used on a coach only when the coach is safely parked.
If regular radio service is unavailable, Transit Operators may use their personal cell phone and/or battery operated radio (capable of receiving AM/FM broadcasts) when responding to major emergencies such as snow storms, earthquakes, or homeland security events. However, such emergency use is only permitted when the vehicle is stopped.
Personal Emergency Messages
Please instruct your family and friends to call your base or the Transit Control Center (when the base is closed) in the event of a personal emergency. The Base Dispatcher will contact the Transit Control Center (TCC) or Light Rail Control Center (LRCC). Depending on the seriousness of the information, the TCC or LCC may call the operator or may dispatch a Service Supervisor to relay the information. If necessary, the TCC or LCC will arrange to relieve the Operator.
Major infractions for this offense before Sept. 19 will result in a minimum six-day suspension. On and after Sept. 19, the first major infraction will result in termination. This is a zero tolerance policy!