10.5.09

ROUTINE KILLS. The operator of a Boston trolley gets too close to the car in advance.

The operator of a Green Line trolley that slammed into a train stopped at Government Center was apparently text messaging his girlfriend when the crash happened, said MBTA General Manager Dan Grabauskus.

“Two detectives have interviewed the operator of the train in the hospital and in the course of that interview he admitted to texting at the time of the crash,” Grabauskus said. The crash happened in a tunnel between Government Center and Park Street stations, sending more than 40 people to area hospitals with cuts, head wounds, and neck and back injuries. None of the injuries was life threatening.

We'll know what happened once the inquiries are finished, in about a year. It's possible that the car ahead is usually well into the station, with the follower able to close in yellow for yellow at the intermediate signals. It becomes routine enough that the operator can disengage between stations, devoting full attention to the situation on approach to the station. He gets away with it until, one day, the car ahead is delayed in its block, and he's coming up on an unexpected red.

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