Monmouth County Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey have introduced legislation to the New Jersey General Assembly that would prohibit individuals with DUI convictions that resulted in loss or suspension of a driver’s license from operating a NJ Transit train. The legislation is the Assembly companion to legislation that has already passed the state Senate with unanimous support.
“We wanted to waste no time getting this legislation introduced in the Assembly, and ensure its passage as soon as possible,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth), “To say that someone who can’t be trusted to operate a vehicle can be trusted with a locomotive is completely nonsensical.”
The bill (A20) was drafted primarily in response to discovery that an NJ Transit train engineer had his driver’s license suspended for ten years following several drunk driving convictions, taking advantage of a loophole that does not disqualify those with a revoked license from operating a train. The legislation would prohibit any person whose driver’s license is currently suspended or revoked for driving while intoxicated or refusing to take a breathalyzer test from operating any NJ Transit locomotive or train for the period of the suspension or revocation.
“At a time when so many commuters depend on NJ Transit, we need to close what has become a dangerous loophole,” said Downey (D-Monmouth), “Our residents depend on us as legislators to ensure their safety, which is why we need to act quickly on this bill.”