FIT Student, Seth Kahn

Authorities are investigating whether or not texting was involved in a fatal accident between MTA bus driver Jeremy Philhower and a student named Seth Kahn.

According to police reports Philhower had been suspended by the MTA and was going to be fired for updating his Facebook status while on duty. However instead of getting fired, an arbitrator ruled that Philhower would have to attend both a drivers safety and customer service training course. On his first day back he got into an accident which killed Seth Kahn. An eyewitness stated that Kahn was sprinting across ninth ave when he was hit by the bus which was making a left turn on West 53rd st.

People who attended Kahn’s funeral were outraged to learn that Phil, however had a previous record of texting while driving. “I can’t believe a bus driver would be updating Facebook when he’s supposed to be giving all his attention to driving. It’s so outrageous,” said friend Jessica Snell, 24. Transit officials checked Philhower’s cell phone, which was in a bag near his seat. The phone hadn’t been used, the source said. Angelo Tanzi, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 726, said Philhower was getting counseling, but was struggling.


MTA driver Jeremy Philhower

Philhower refused to comment but a woman who identified herself as his sister stated “My brother is very distraught right now, our hearts go out to the family. It’s a terrible accident.” Kahn had over 100 people attend his funeral including brothers from Alpha Epsilon Pi,  a Jewish fraternity Kahn had become apart of and helped to start at FIT. Seth Kahn died at the age of 22.

(Via the Daily News)

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11m34-480The panic rushes through your body as the pressure to make your final decision increases with every passing second.  15 minutes is all you have.  A weird, contrived facial expression envelops your face as you try to do the math.  It’ll take 20 minutes to walk. 15 minutes is the longest possible time you’d have to wait assuming that you JUST missed the bus.  It should take 6 minutes to get there by bus.  But, there is absolutely no way of knowing when the next bus is coming. This is starting to remind you of the physics problem on your final that made you fail for the year.  If one train is X distance from point A and another train going in the opposite direction is X distance traveling Y mph at which point will they fly?  Er. Well, it was something like that.  The confusion is taking over and you need to sit down.  Take a deep breath and calm down because the mayor of NYC has finally heard your cries for mercy and has decided to solve all of your problems.  The answer? Electronic countdown displays.

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subway“If You See Something Say Something” is the motto that is plastered all over the subway stations of NYC. And soon, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be able to see something too, in fact they will be able to see everything.

The MTA plans to place surveillance equipment in one of their newest trains by the end of this year.  While the videos won’t be watched live, they could provide crucial information in criminal cases.

Could this be a new trend, following the MTA surveillance system project in Maryland?  Perhaps, but the MTA wants to first see how the program goes (fiscally, effectiveness, etc.) before it starts to outfit all of the system’s trains with surveillance equipment. If the plan does go through, we think that it will be a great way to make the MTA a safer way to travel, especially late at night and in deserted areas. After all, there is no better deterrent for a criminal than knowing that there is a surveillance system watching him.

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finishedserviceMaryland’s acting transportation chief has chosen to scrap an internal proposal to use listening devices on its buses and trains for recording conversations of passengers and employees, citing concerns about privacy as the motivating factor in his decision. After inquiries from the Baltimore Sun Monday about reports of the Maryland Transportation Authority’s top official asking for the opinion of the state’s Attorney General’s office on the legality of this surveillance, acting Secretary Beverly Swaim-Staley ordered the request withdrawn and stated,

“It certainly should have been vetted at the department level and it was not.” “We have not weighed the issues we should weigh before making a decision like this.”

Staley said the question of surveillance was raised legally before it could be discussed thoroughly policy-wise and that she will now spend time deciding whether to move forward with the program. By backing off the proposal, Swaim-Staley may avert a confrontation with the General Assembly. Some legislators have already expressed the thought that the plan would have led to opposition legislation almost immediately. (Via the Baltimore Sun)

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5012The Maryland Transit Administration may install audio surveillance equipment on its buses and trains to record conversations of passengers and employees, according to a letter sent by the organization to Maryland’s Attorney General’s Office.

The document searches for legal guidance on whether installing this equipment would fall under the jurisdiction of Maryland’s anti-wiretapping law. MTA Administrator Paul J. Wiedefeld noted in the letter that the MTA has already taken the step of using video cameras for security aboard its vehicles and writes, “As part of MTA’s ongoing efforts to deter criminal activity and mitigate other dangerous situations on board its vehicles, Agency management has considered adding audio recording equipment to the video recording technology now in use throughout its fleet.”

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