In the wake of the furor over a proposed texting ban for commercial drivers by the National Transportation Safety Board, another deadly truck accident may be linked to the trucker texting or talking on a cell phone, according to a report in the Bangor Daily News.
The fiery collision involving tractor-trailer driver Peter Barnum, 35, and Amtrak’s Downeaster in the town of North Berwick, ME, in July was most likely caused when Barnum became distracted using a mobile communication device, according to a statement by the North Berwick Police Dept. The trucker was killed in the crash.
“It appears with the investigation complete that the cause of this crash is driver inattention/distraction by the possible use of a mobile communication device by Mr. Barnum,” North Berwick Police Lt. James Moulton said in a statement.
Investigators examined Barnum’s cell phone records, GPS and other electronic equipment to try to figure out why the truck hauling more than 20 tons of garbage failed to stop in time for the train, which was traveling from Boston and Portland.
The locomotive, which caught fire, was separated from the five passenger cars by the impact. Four passengers and two Amtrak crew members were injured, none seriously. The truck left about 200 ft. of skidmarks leading to the point of impact, police said.
Flashing lights and the crossing gate were working properly at the time of the collision, according to police.