The driver of the MBTA trolley that crashed near Government Center in May 2009 failed to respond to a red light because he was texting, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report released today.
The 10-page report released very little new information about the crash that injured 68 people and cost $9.6 million.The driver, Aiden Quinn, had already admitted to texting his girlfriend at the time of the crash – a violation of the T’s cell phone policy prohibiting the use of cell phones on the job.
However, the report indicates that Quinn did not comply with both yellow and red traffic signals leading up to the collision, but instead accelerated the train to the near maximum allowed track speed of 25 mph.
“At the time, the pilot operator was text messaging on his wireless device, and it is likely that this activity caused him to lose his situational awareness and his focus on operating the train,” the report states.
The report also says that Quinn refused to interviewed buy NTSB investigators at the advice of his lawyer. He later sent a letter agreeing to an interview “only under the grant of immunity,” the report states.
Finally, the report says the lack of a train control system that would have automatically stopped the train contributed to the collision.
Quinn pleaded guilty in December to negligence and was sentenced to two years of probation and 100 hours of community service.