06/11/2012 06:19 pm ET

Metro-North Control Room Windows Covered Up After Distracted Operator Suspension

Distracted driving isn't only a problem on the roads, apparently it's an issue on the rails too.

A train operator for the Metro-North commuter line was suspended last week after a video leaked of him reading a newspaper while driving a rush hour train, the New York Daily News reports. Now just a few days later, reports have emerged of interior cab windows being taped over with posters, obscuring train operators from passengers' view, according to NBC New York.

The MTA, the company responsible for the commuter line, said in a statement that while "reading anything, texting or using cell phones while operating a train is obviously not acceptable,” covering over the windows isn’t against any rules.

“The Metro-North does not have a policy that either prohibits or encourages train crew members from papering over or otherwise obscuring interior cab windows," the MTA said in a statement according to NBC New York.

A cell phone video taken in January 2011 also raised questions about Metro-North’s operations by revealing a malfunction that prevented a door from closing even as the train continued moving. Still, Metro-north has seen a 5.9 percent increase in ridership on the New Haven line over the first four months of this year, the Stamford Advocate reports.

Distracted driving isn't only an issue among commuter train operators, though. In 2009, two pilots for Northwestern Airlines were suspended for a year after focusing so intently on their laptops that they flew hundreds of miles beyond their scheduled destination, USA Today reports. In addition, distracted drivers continue to pose a major safety threat, particularly those that text behind the wheel; in 2009, 5,400 people were killed in car accidents that involved distracted drivers, Forbes reports.



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