California bans cellphone used by train drivers

October 7, 2011 - 3:15 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — State regulators have banned California train drivers from using cellphones in the wake of a deadly Los Angeles crash blamed on texting.

The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday unanimously voted to ban use of cellphones, pagers, satellite phones and other personal electronic devices by rail transit personnel. It makes permanent an emergency ban already in place.

Cameras will be placed in train operator cabs to enforce the ban.

Federal regulators already have such a ban for national rails. The California ban extends that to regional lines such as the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, LA Metro and San Diego trolley.

The ban was prompted by a 2008 head-on crash between a Metrolink commuter train and a freight train in Chatsworth. Twenty-five people died and more than 100 were hurt.