U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ), as well as Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31), held a press conference at the Secaucus Junction rail station this morning to call for new state and federal regulations for conductors that are currently dealing with the consequences of driving while intoxicated.
Menendez called on NJ Transit to take a more proactive approach to this situation, which became an issue after an Eyewitness News report revealed that NJ Transit engineer Thomas Broschart is still operating trains despite losing his driver’s license for 10 years after repeated drunk driving convictions.
While alcohol wasn’t involved in the incident, Menendez also pointed to the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia last month, where eight were killed and hundreds more injured, as an example of how important making a split-second decision is when operating a train.
Furthermore, the veteran senator said that he and Booker plan on introducing federal legislation that puts rail passenger safety first. Like Menendez, Booker said he was “outraged” to hear that Broschart was still legally able to operate a train even though his driver’s license is currently suspended.
Chiaravalloti, a former chief of staff for Menendez, introduced a measure in the state Assembly, similar to the bill passed by the state Senate on the same day, that would not allow anyone that has their driver’s license suspended from a drunk driving incident to be able to operate a train.
“I think new Jersey Transit already has the authority to take this necessary step, but since they don’t, since they’re unwilling to, we’ll step in and pass this legislation. I think we’ll fast track it and hopefully have it completed by the end of June,” Chiaravalloti told Hudson County View.