An engineer is operating trains along the nation's third-largest commuter railroad even though his driver's license has been suspended for 10 years because of a history of driving while intoxicated.
New Jersey Transit engineer Thomas Broschart's license was suspended in 2007 for a decade, and he has someone pick him up from work because he isn't legally allowed to drive a car, according to an investigation by WABC-TV in New York. But federal law doesn't require him to have a motor vehicle driver's license to operate a train.
"You don't need a driver's license," Broschart said. "One has nothing to do with the other."
NJ Transit said it's following the law but would welcome stricter regulations.
"Federal law governing engineers sets forth specific regulations in dealing with DWI cases involving engineers and we are obligated to follow those Federal Railroad Administration rules," NJ Transit said in a statement Tuesday. "The code was strictly adhered to and the engineer is certified to operate locomotives according to federal law."
When asked whether his supervisors know that his driver's license was revoked, Broschart responded, "Absolutely. Everybody knows."
In 1995, Broschart's license was suspended for two years because he refused to have his blood-alcohol level tested, the TV station reported. In 1999, his license was suspended for a year for driving while intoxicated, and in 2001, his license was suspended for not complying with a mandatory alcohol program.
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez said it was "pretty alarming" that Broschart can transport commuters but can't legally drive to and from work. The New Jersey Democrat has asked his staff to contact the Federal Railroad Administration to determine whether a law needs to be changed.
NJ Transit said, "Anything that could be done to strengthen those federal rules and protect our customers and employees would be welcome."