Bill Would Ban Bad Drivers From Operating Trains

NEWARK (AP) -

A top state lawmaker said Wednesday he will push for a vote this week on legislation that would prevent engineers from operating trains if their driver’s licenses are revoked or suspended for drunken driving violations.

The move came after a media probe revealed that New Jersey Transit engineer Thomas Broschart has been operating commuter trains despite losing his license to drive a car for 10 years for repeated drunken driving.

WABC reported Broschart’s license was suspended in 2007 and he isn’t legally allowed to drive a car. His license was also suspended three times, including once for two years in 1995 because he refused to have his blood-alcohol level tested.

NJ Transit has said that rules governing engineers were strictly followed in Broschart’s case and that he is certified to operate locomotives under federal law.

“You don’t need a driver’s license,” Broschart said. “One has nothing to do with the other.”

NJ Transit said it’s following the law but would welcome stricter regulations.

“Federal law governing engineers sets forth specific regulations in dealing with DWI cases involving engineers and we are obligated to follow those Federal Railroad Administration rules,” NJ Transit said. “The code was strictly adhered to and the engineer is certified to operate locomotives according to federal law.”

When asked whether his supervisors know that his driver’s license was revoked, Broschart responded, “Absolutely. Everybody knows.”