New Law Bans New Jersey Transit Engineers With DUI’s From Operating Trains
A bill was signed by Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday, under which the Railroad engineers who have lost their driving license due to DUI will not be permitted to drive NJ transit commuter trains.
In the month of May, the bill was introduced after a report of the NJ Transit locomotive engineer who was operating trains with a suspended driver’s license. His license was suspended for 10 years due to a driving under the influence conviction.
According to a spokeswoman, Jennifer M. Nelson, the company is checking licenses of locomotive engineers to stop any engineers with suspended licenses from operating the train.
Under the federal railroad regulations, there is no need for train operators to possess a motor vehicle license, but now it is made mandatory by the bill that was signed on Wednesday and will be implemented soon.
Engineers with suspended licenses can only begin operating again after the restoration of the license.
Federal regulations didn’t cover the driver’s license, about which the state and federal lawmakers spoke.
Assemblywoman Joann Downey, D-Monmouth and a co-sponsor said, “No one who is prohibited from operating an automobile should be in a position to transport passengers who take NJ Transit trains. For the sake of public safety, New Jersey must take action to ensure that no one whose license is suspended due to drunk driving is granted this level of responsibility.”
The new law that is introduced by Democratic and Republican legislators also includes NJ Transit engineers who have lost their license after refusing to give a breath sample for an intoxication test.
According to Senate President Steven Sweeney, D-Gloucester, a co-sponsor, “If they aren’t allowed to drive a car, they shouldn’t be entrusted with the safety of train passengers. It’s that simple and with this law, it will make those rules clear.”
According to U.S Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, D-NJ, they have decided to pursue the federal legislation which will make it mandatory to suspend engineers from operating trains if they have lost their driver’s license as a result of a DUI conviction.
Prior to passing of the law, NJ Transit officials said they were going to check the driver’s license status of every engineer hired by the company for operating the train.
The rules that were implemented related to alcohol use and testing the engineers showed there is no penalty for an engineer who has lost his license due to a DUI conviction.