Proposal railroads drivers into noncompliance

| 5/24/2011

A federal proposal that would prohibit truckers from entering a railroad crossing unless they proceed through the crossing without stopping presents an obvious catch-22 for drivers, OOIDA leadership says.

OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz says the joint proposal by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration does not take into account that it would force truckers to break other laws to comply.

Consider the 19,824 crossings identified by the FMCSA where storage space for vehicles is less than 100 feet. Space for vehicles is often less than the length of a tractor-trailer.

Rajkovacz says a trucker crossing a railroad grade that has a stop sign on the other side would be forced to make a choice in which law to break.

Rajkovacz says truckers who stop before the tracks so they can judge the amount of space are often passed by impatient drivers of other vehicles – again putting truckers in a catch-22 as to whether to proceed or stay back.

OOIDA filed comments on the agencies’ notice of proposed rulemaking in late April.

“FMCSA should not put drivers in a position where they and their carriers may be punished for a regulatory violation that is beyond their control, a situation that in many cases cannot be avoided without breaking another traffic law,” OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston wrote.