Train driver seen using cell phone while on job

TOKYO —

JR East said Friday that a train driver was seen using his cell phone while driving a train, which is against regulations.

The 53-year-old driver was seen using his cell phone while driving a four-car passenger train on the Sagami Line between Sagasaki and Hashimoto at around 2 p.m. on Thursday, according to TV Asahi.

JR said a male passenger saw the driver using his cell phone and then admonished him while the train was stopped at a station. The driver reported his actions to his boss after his shift ended, TV Asahi reported.
JR says that it is against company rules for a train driver to take his own cell phone to work with him, and that all JR train drivers will be reminded of the rules and monitored carefully to prevent a repeat of the incident. A JR spokesperson said the man is to be disciplined for breaching JR safety guidelines.

The Kanto District Transport Bureau urged JR to take the necessary steps to ensure drivers adhere to the rules, saying, “This kind of behavior is a serious safety lapse and is deeply regrettable,” according o TV Asahi. 

Japan Today

  • -9

    YuriOtani

    Should of kept his mouth shut, the man was doing him a favor.

  • 1

    almostshat

    Time for a spot of car park weeding, methinks

  • 3

    Yubaru

    Should of kept his mouth shut, the man was doing him a favor.

    How's that? The guy that admonished him could have very well gone and tattled on the driver himself, he is Japanese too you know.

  • -3

    cactusJack

    "Honey, what's for dinner tonight?" Busted!

  • -3

    Seavey

    The 53-year-old driver was seen using his cell phone while driving

    then

    JR said a male passenger saw the driver using his cell phone and then admonished him while the train was stopped at a station.

    Well, which is it?

    I don't see why drivers should not even be allowed to take their cell to work. Its not like they have to turn at intersections or something. A wiser rule would be no texting, and use a hands free set. I am more worried about driver's falling asleep than talking on the phone, and the later might prevent the former.

  • -1

    Elbuda Mexicano

    And this dude was caught, but how many idiot train drivers are never caught??

  • -1

    cadmium31680

    Wait til the new generation of young train drivers arrive. They'll have grown up using the cell phones while walking and cycling, so using them while driving trains won't be anything new.

  • -5

    Peter St. Christopher Kelly

    What an idiot, telling p on himself to appear good and honest.

  • 5

    TumbleDry

    Shingo, yosh! Skymail, yosh! Salary cut, yosh!

  • -3

    mikemiro

    I agree with the policy but I feel for the driver too, as he is probably on his shift for 12 hours at a go and if he can't even bring a mobile to work, then good luck trying to have a marriage, or friends, or any semblance of a social life...

  • 4

    Ozaki Yoshihisa

    I saw a train driver using public phone. I guess Odakyu-line disallowed cell phone bring to the train. I understood why Shinjuku-station still have a lot of public phones.

  • 0

    Virtuoso

    Cell phones are as addictive as heroin. Once they summon you with a ring tone or a vibration, you are completely at their mercy. Japan has 100 million keitai addicts. It is naive to expect its train drivers be any different.

  • 7

    blackpassenger

    Peter, in your culture he may be an idiot for telling on himself, but in this culture its called honesty, even if it means he'll be picking up trash in the Jr car park for a month.

  • 2

    gyouza

    There is a sticker in the window of the drivers cab that says...(in Japanese)..."In emergencies, or in order to confirm operational information, the driver may be required to use a corporate mobile phone"

    I guess he used the Hello Kitty one instead. Not sure I would know what a corporate one would look like.

    Moreover, why should mobiles be allowed in any work environment - the amount of wasted hours SOME people spend glued to their handsets or pick up as soon as a mail comes in is amazing.

    Right, tea break over, back to work!

    @seavey - the passenger saw the driver using cell phone whilst driving, and then, whilst the train was stopped, and he could get out and go around to the drivers door (tricky when train is moving), he then admonished him whilst stopped at the station. Thats how I read it, not and either / or situation, but maybe a comma after "cell phone" could have made it easier to read?

  • -8

    YuriOtani

    Not sure why all of the negatives, going to your boss and confessing to violating the rules is STUPID.

  • 5

    tmarie

    I get that this is an issue but what about all the truck drivers using their cellphones?! Everyday I see truck drivers, various sale's guys in their phones while driving. That is actually against the law but I have never seen anything done about it. Very few train accidents and yet numerous car accidents - many due to cellphones. Perhaps the public - and the police - can deal with that as well?!

  • 2

    tmarie

    Yuri, the guy was honest and this passenger could have reported him. The problem with that thinking is that it is okay to do whatever as long as you don't get caught or apologize and continue the bad behaviour. Good for this guy telling his boss rather than word getting back to the boss. It is stupid of people to hide and lie about issues but that's just how business is done in some parts of the world. A little integrity never hurt.

  • 3

    bicultural

    tmarie, my friend got busted twice for using a cell phone while driving the company car. Had to pay a hefty fine and attend a course. Once more and the license gets revoked.

  • -1

    Kapuna

    Use a hands free device.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    YuriOtani: "Not sure why all of the negatives, going to your boss and confessing to violating the rules is STUPID"

    Not when you know you're busted. It gives a semblance of dignity to come forward on your own if/when you think or know someone else is going to do it otherwise.

    As for the issue at hand, what was he doing on his cell phone? If it was an emergency, then why not? If he was surfing for the latest AKB48 ads, then I can see the problem. Either way, I agree with others that any cell phone use should not be hand-held, despite the fact that the person driving is on tracks.

  • 0

    tmarie

    Bi, wasn't smart enough to learn the first time?! Seems the first fine needs to be increased. Plenty more people need a hefty fine and some classes! Too many out there disregarding the road to chat.

  • 1

    NewsLover

    Funny that some of the people refer to hand free sets. Two options there, one with a headset, which could distract the driver from regular radio traffic, talking about creating a dangerous situation, and the other with a loudspeaker, which could only mean the request for passengers not to make phone calls on the train, can no longer be upheld. To be honest I am pretty happy not hearing a million different ringtones at their loudest volumes all the time, while reading a book.

    Beside, who is to install the sets? I assume the drivers change trains all the time?

  • -1

    It"S ME

    Even with hands-free sets it been proven that radio listening, etc is just as if not more distracting. Given the distance/time between stations here I don't want the driver distracted and rear-end another train, etc.

    The JR, etc drivers work in 4hr shifts(2 per day) and if they are on the last train they got accommodations for the night. So no need to contact family as the schedule is fixed.

  • 0

    cwhite

    Use blue tooth hand free next time. The day will come when the mobile will be built into us.

    I see no problem with bringing his own mobile for emergency purposes (I wouldn't trust just one corporate mobile which is probably a DoCoMo).

  • 0

    Reiss8

    I have always been incredibly impressed by the JR train drivers & JR in general. Compared to almost every other country I have been too I think they are exceptional.

  • 0

    Arthur Dumbolov

    Caught talking on cellphone in train. So what? Is that bad or else?

  • 1

    kaminarioyaji

    Drivers of any kind of vehicle just can't help themselves here it seems... Just how important is their call/text that they feel the need to endanger those around them???

  • 0

    tmarie

    Reiss, that might be because it wasn't one of your family or friends that was killed in the jr accident in amagasaki a few years ago - which is what led to the crackdown by jr.

  • -2

    YuriOtani

    The chance the driver had was to put away the cell phone and move forward. The passenger was trying to correct the problem, not get him in trouble.

  • 0

    gyouza

    Even with hands-free sets it been proven that radio listening, etc is just as if not more distracting. Given the distance/time between stations here I don't want the driver distracted and rear-end another train, etc.

    @its me - not me with thumbs down - sorry 'bout that! Anyway. ATS is an incredibly reliable system that would stop a train collision happening. Drivers going too fast was an issue (Amagasaki) but even that wil be a thing of the past once electronic signalling is finished (2013?). You won't actually need drivers!

    @tmarie - the work on ATS was inprocess, and accelerated by the incident you mention. Including that incident, the safety record of Japanese railways is still incredible. You could mention it to the friends and families of the 106 people killed that terrible day, you could also mention it to the friends and families of the 3,500 killed EVERY year on Indian railways. You're right to be angry, but the anger should be consistent. And not exactly sure what the mobile phone connection is here anyway!

  • 1

    tmarie

    My anger is consistent which is why I asked about truck drivers and salary men using their mobiles while driving.

    I also have very different expectation of Japan than I do for India.

  • 0

    gyouza

    Point being that a mobile phone wasn't the direct (or indirect) cause of the crash at Amagasaki. Overspeeding, and the potential consequences of being behind schedule on the driver was.

  • 1

    tmarie

    Indeed it was but it lead JR to clamp down on a lot of inexcusable behaviour. Your also misdirecting your comments at me for this. I'm all for bans of cell phones while in charge of any mode of transportation - cars, bikes... So your above comments about consistency is incorrect.

  • 0

    Allison Honig

    Well. Rules are rules. You just don't break them.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    The chance the driver had was to put away the cell phone and move forward. The passenger was trying to correct the problem, not get him in trouble.

    And the chance is well that the passenger was forewarning the driver that he was going to inform his company as well. Better that he turn himself in and take responsibility rather than have a 3rd party do it for you.

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