Unions sue N.J. over ban on engineers with suspended licenses driving trains


Unions representing locomotive engineers filed a lawsuit to dam a state regulation that prohibits NJ Transit engineers from working trains if their motorcar driver’s license is suspended.

The go well with was filed Monday by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and the Transportation Division of the Worldwide Affiliation of Sheet Metallic, Air, Rail and Transportation Staff (SMART-TD). Union officers contend that the state regulation, which was signed by Gov. Chris Christie in August, conflicts with federal laws, is punitive and does not enhance security.

The invoice was proposed in Might after information studies of an NJ Transit locomotive engineer who was nonetheless working trains whereas his driver’s license was suspended for 10 years.

Lawmakers who launched the laws stated it closed a loophole in federal laws, which do not require engineers to have a motorcar license. Union officers stated present federal regulation and present rail security laws already tackle treating railroad staff who’ve their private motorcar licenses revoked for working drunk or different banned substances.

“The New Jersey regulation is incompatible with the federal regulation and is an answer in the hunt for an issue,” Dennis R. Pierce, BLET Nationwide President, stated in a launch. “It does nothing to make the railroad safer.”

Federal regulation presently requires railroad certification processes to think about an engineer’s driving document, convictions and license suspensions for driving underneath the affect in the course of the previous three years. 

Union officers stated federal regulation requires counseling and/or remedy for locomotive engineers who’re recognized with an lively substance abuse dysfunction.

Staff who refuse or fail to adjust to federal regulation have their certification suspended. Those that adjust to the federal regulation and the phrases of a federally-mandated substance abuse program are permitted to proceed working. A counselor must deem the individual “not affected by an lively dysfunction,” officers stated.

Earlier than the regulation was handed, NJ Transit officers stated they have been going to voluntarily verify the driving force’s license standing of engineers.

Larry Higgs could also be reached at lhiggs@njadvancemedia.com. Comply with him on Twitter @commutinglarry. Discover NJ.com on Fb.



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