This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.
Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index
BBC Learning English Launch BBC Media Player
  • Help
  • Text only
You are in: Learning English > News English > Words in the News
Learning English - Words in the News
24 September, 2008 - Published 11:23 GMT
No mobiles for Californian rail workers
Derailed coaches at the site of the collision

Rail workers in California have been banned from using cell phones while trains are moving - after 25 people were killed in a crash near Los Angeles two weeks ago. Investigators say the train engineer was sending text messages while at work. Rajesh Mirchandani reports:

Listen to the story

Investigators have concluded engineer Robert Sanchez - who was in charge of a busy passenger train - failed to apply the brakes before a red light and ploughed into an oncoming freight train. 25 people, including Sanchez, died and more than 130 were hurt in the collision in Chatsworth, north of Los Angeles. Sanchez was sending text messages from his mobile phone that day and some teenagers told a local news station they received one such message from him one minute before the crash.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates transportation in the state, has now banned rail employees from using mobile phones while working on a moving train. If they do so, they could now face a fine of up to $20,000. The measure strengthens an existing ban issued by the train company.

It was also partly prompted by another crash in June - then 14 people were hurt when two San Francisco trams collided. Investigators believe one of the drivers in that accident may also have been using a mobile phone.

Rajesh Mirchandani, BBC News, Los Angeles

Listen to the words

people whose job is discovering information about people and/or events, especially crimes or accidents

decided (after consideration), confirmed

in charge of
driving (if you are in charge, you are in command or in a position of responsibility)

ploughed into
hit with great force

oncoming freight train
a train carrying goods, not people, that was moving in the opposite direction

crash, i.e. when two objects hit each other

Public Utilities
in the US, government-regulated companies that provide essential public services, e.g. water, gas, electricity, or public transport

regulates transportation
adopts and enforces rules that apply to the movement of vehicles

face a fine of
be told to pay (by court)

prompted by
caused by; the result of

To take away:
Lesson planDownload or print (21 K)
Latest stories
27 May, 2011
Destruction of smallpox virus delayed
25 May, 2011
Micro-finance 'misused and abused'
20 May, 2011
Lonely planets
18 May, 2011
Germany to invest in more electric cars
16 May, 2011
Argentina builds a tower of books
Other Stories