Massachusetts Train, Trolley Operators Banned From Carrying Cell Phones After Crash

Transit officials in Massachusetts are banning train, trolley and bus drivers from carrying cell phones while they're behind the wheel after one operator crashed a street car while text-messaging his girlfriend.

The policy change announced Wednesday is the strictest in the nation. The state already bans transit operators from using cell phones while they're on the job.

The decision follows the trolley collision last week that injured nearly 50 people and was blamed on a text-messaging driver.

Operators caught talking or text-messaging on a cell phone will be discharged immediately.

There will be a 10-day suspension for a first offense of carrying a phone. A second offense will be punished by a 30-day suspension with recommendation for firing.

Transportation Secretary James Aloisi says the policy is designed to avoid a repeat of "the error of judgment" that led to Friday's accident.

On Tuesday, a state transportation official said the 24-year-old Boston trolley driver who was allegedly texting his girlfriend was hired as a minority because of his transgender status.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority spokesman Joe Pesaturo told ABC News that there was "nothing unusual" in the hiring of Alden Quinn, and that he was picked out of a hiring lottery in 2004.

Another MBTA source said, "Quinn was initially hired as a minority and used her transgender status," ABC News reported.

The driver, originally known as Georgia Quinn, underwent a female-to-male sex change and switched the sexual designation on his driver's license, FOX News confirmed.

Quinn may face criminal charges and has already been suspended from work for his role in the crash, which occurred when his car ran a red light. Some passengers had to be taken away on stretchers. Quinn suffered a broken wrist.

Damages from the accident are expected to top $9 million dollars, according to the MBTA.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.