Today’s Headlines

  • Train Driver in O’Hare Crash Had Fallen Asleep at Controls Before (Tribune)
  • CDOT Proposes Road Diet, Protected Bike Lanes for Stony Island (DNA)
  • Ex-Metra CEO Clifford May Become Santa Cruz Transit Chief (Tribune, NBC)
  • Driver Killed Pedestrian This Morning in Dunning (ABC)
  • A Pedestrian Was Fatally Struck in Austin Last Week (Tribune)
  • Driver Who Killed Boy While High on Heroin Gets 12 Years (Tribune)
  • Family of Fallen Cyclist Bobby Cann Files Civil Suit Against Driver (DNA)
  • Teens Hack at Cyclist’s Bike With Machete, Punch Him, Film the Assault (DNA)
  • South Elgin Man Accused of Road Rage Shooting (Tribune)
  • Measure to Regulate Ride-Sharing Advances in Illinois House (Tribune)
  • Federal Lawsuit: Chicago Cabbies Should Be Considered Employees (Tribune)
  • Serendivvity Dating Website Is a Divvy Data Challenge Winner (RedEye)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • BlueFairlane

    The Blue Line driver falling asleep is a bad thing, no doubt, but I think the larger issue with this incident is that none of the redundant safety mechanisms worked as advertised. Coming so close on the runaway Forest Park train, which also owed to a failure of redundant safety mechanisms, you have to wonder about the larger systemic issue. Why are there no safeguards on CTA trains?

  • Jim Mitchell

    There is also a question with regard to CTA’s personnel management decisions. If it is true that this driver was known to have slept through a stop while driving the train on a previous occasion, why in the name of all that’s good was she put on the 3:00 a.m. shift?

  • BlueFairlane

    Very true. And even greater than that, the coverage suggests she works some kind of filler position, in which it’s possible for her to work any open shift at any time of day or night. This doesn’t excuse her (something should have been done in the wake of the first incident), but the human body simply can’t alter its circadian rhythm to that degree and still function as planned. If true, CTA was just asking for something like this to happen.

  • CL

    The CTA claims they didn’t know she had fallen asleep because she only confessed to “closing her eyes for a moment.” Just like I used to close my eyes for a moment in AP Calculus.

  • what_eva

    welcome to union contracts. she’s new, so she gets the overnight shifts

  • BlueFairlane

    I don’t think that’s specific to union jobs.

  • what_eva

    it’s certainly possible in non-union jobs, but in union jobs with a strict seniority system, it’s pretty much required.

  • Jakub Muszynski

    Wow, the pedestrian killed in dunning hits too close to home/work. I saw the site of the accident going to work this morning.

    That intersection is pretty crazy, I saw someone speeding during the summer and they crashed into a light pole causing the lamp to fall, and before that someone cause the entire lamp post to fall over.

  • BlueFairlane

    This is pretty much how all jobs work. The new guy always gets the crappy position, union or not. What happened here wasn’t a union problem, unless you want to argue that the union wasn’t strong enough to prevent the kind of filler position the driver worked.

  • madopal

    Yep, my thoughts exactly. There are all kinds of reasons a train could runaway that don’t involve someone falling asleep. If the emergency brakes didn’t stop the train when it wasn’t speeding, that’s a much bigger issue than a sleepy conductor.

  • what_eva

    No, it’s not. If you have experience, you can come in at a higher level. Not true in a strict seniority job.

  • BlueFairlane

    In most cases in the world of work, experienced or not, you come in under the guys hired before you. It’s the way of the world.

    Now you can reply “no it’s not,” I can “say “yes it is.” You might be able to pull out some anecdotal evidence, I might do the same, and we cancel each other out and wind up in a unions-suck/unions-don’t-suck stalemate. Let’s just save ourselves some time and say that already happened.

  • That stony island proposal is incredible. CDOT is really taking on a tough problem there. If they can pedestrianize Stony Island there is, literally, no excuse as to why any other street in the city can’t.

  • Anne A

    My other question about this story is why CTA has drivers working varying shifts, which may have contributed to the driver’s sleepiness.

  • FG

    They can pedestrianize it, but it’ll “end up like” the State Street Mall, a failure in many peoples eyes.

  • FG

    It may be time for the CTA to seriously consider ATO (automated train operation) – you would still have an operator for safety and “peace of mind” but all operations (other than maybe doors) would be automated. I am still bending my mind around this being a “derailment”…