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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 3, 2017 02:11 PM
From: Representative Frank A. Farry
To: All House members
Subject: Railroad Trains Blocking Crossings (Former HB 2435)
I intend to reintroduce legislation to stiffen the penalties when a company or government agency stops its trains and blocks a roadway for an unreasonable period of time.

It is already a summary offense to stop a train in a location that blocks a roadway for more than five minutes, subject to numerous exceptions, such as for safety considerations or when the train is disabled. The reason for this isn’t just to avoid inconvenience to local drivers or children traveling home by school bus, but also to leave roadways open for emergency responders. The penalty is a $25 fine. This summary offense has not prevented numerous blockages of a major state road in my district. In fact, even though this road has been blocked for up to two hours at a time, tickets written by my local police chief have done little to deter this ongoing, dangerous conduct.

Therefore, I propose that second or subsequent violations of this offense be subject to more serious fines, ranging from not less than $200 to no more than $1,000, and possible imprisonment of no more than six months. These are the same higher penalties currently assessed against repeat offenders of other vehicular offenses, such as racing on highways and driving without lights to avoid identification or arrest. It is my hope that these more serious penalties will finally get the attention of train operators to prevent unsafe conditions and possible tragedy.

Please join me in sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB720