Illinois railroad crossing bill targets truckers

| 3/27/2002

An Illinois bill setting perimeters for railroad crossings is headed for its third reading in the House. HB4953 would set standards for drivers at railroad crossings, both with and without gates and imposes certain disqualifications on commercial drivers who intentionally drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

This bill would penalize motorists and truckers for crossing a railroad grade crossing where a driver is not normally required to stop. It also prohibits a commercial driver from driving through a crossing unless there is enough space to drive completely through the crossing without stopping.

Some of the offenses would include ignoring a visible signal device, a lowered crossing gate or failing to stop at least 15 feet from the tracks before proceeding across the grade. It also amends the vehicle code to include driving under the influence to the list of offenses for which a driver could lose his or her driving privileges.

Jay C. Hoffman (D-Collinsville) is behind the bill, which would make an owner-operator an employee under the bill's terms and would make any driver who interferes with the movement of a train at a crossing automatically guilty.

A trucker with a CDL would be fined $250 and license suspended 60 days for a first offense. The fine would be $500 with a 120 day suspension for a second offense within a three-year period.