Chiaravalloti bill banning DWI drivers from operating NJ Transit trains now law

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A bill co-sponsored by Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31) banning drivers still dealing with the consequences of a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge from operating NJ Transit trains is now a law. Nick Chiaravalloti

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The law (A-20) prohibits any individual whose driver’s license is suspended or revoked due to driving while intoxicated or refusing to take a breathalyzer test from operating an NJ Transit locomotive or train.

“An individual who lost his or her driving privileges has shown disregard for public safety and should be disqualified from operating trains for our state’s mass transit system,” Chiaravalloti said in a statement.

“This legislation is aimed at making sure NJ Transit meets passengers’ reasonable expectation of a safe ride.”

Chiaravalloti was joined by U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ) at the Secaucus Junction rail station in May, calling for stricter state and federal regulations for train conductors.

Assembly members Joann Downey (D-11), Eric Houghtaling (D-11), Craig Coughlin (D-19) and Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-6) also co-sponsored the legislation.

Concern around this issue arose after an ABC 7 report revealed that an NJ Transit engineer whose license was suspended due to a DWI was still permitted to operate trains.

Federal law governing railroad operations does not prohibit the engineer from retaining the position.