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Failure to Yield at a Railroad Crossing Leads to License Suspension

Posted on in Traffic violations

IL defense lawyerIllinois was ranked fifth in the country by the Federal Railroad Association for railroad crossing collisions in 2018. In total, Illinois saw 109 collisions (17 deaths and 34 injuries), most of which occurred because safety regulations were not being met by the motorists. Failing to obey the signs that a train is coming is not only a traffic violation, but it also puts lives at risk, as proven by the aforementioned statistics. Not only is the motorist risking their life by trying to beat a train through a crossing, but innocent bystanders can be hurt or killed by debris after a crash.

Signs That a Train Is Approaching

There is plenty of warning given to drivers when they are approaching a train crossing. There will be signs indicating that a crossing is coming up and there may even be lights flashing to alert drivers to prepare to stop.

When a train is approaching, motorists will see:

  • Gates lowering across the road to stop the vehicle from crossing. These gates will also illuminate with flashing red lights.
  • A pair of red railroad lights will begin flashing to get the motorists’ attention and get them to slow down.
  • And a motorist will hear loud bells begin to ring, but this is mostly to alert pedestrians of the incoming train.

Signage for railroad crossings can be posted as far away as 750 feet from the crossing, so drivers have plenty of time to be aware of any trains. In some cases, railroad crossings do not have any safety signals besides a sign. When a driver approaches these types of tracks, they should look both ways before carefully passing over.

When the gates come down, motorists should never speed up to try to beat the train. This is what will lead to a collision. Instead, cars are expected to stop 15 to 50 feet away from the train tracks and wait until the gates raise again before continuing.

How Are Railroad Regulations Enforced?

Some railroad crossings are equipped with an automatic enforcement system which captures images of any violation to railroad regulations. The system will take photos of the vehicle that crosses dangerously, the license plate, and note the time and place in which the incident took place.

Once the proper authorities are alerted to the violation, the driver will face:

  • A $500 fine for a first offense
  • A $1,000 fine for a second offense

Or

  • 25 hours of community service for a first offense
  • Suspension of driver’s license for a minimum of six months

The driver who violated the rules may also have to pay compensation to the railroad company if any damage was done to the safety gates while trying to race the train. Not to mention any lawsuits that may occur if another person was hurt or damage was done to their vehicle by the offending party.

Contact an Elgin, IL Traffic Violation Attorney

It is very dangerous to attempt to beat a train through a railroad crossing, however, there are certain situations that may call for the haste. An emergency elsewhere may need attending to and if that was not happening, then the driver would not have been so reckless. The lawyers of the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola can help defend against any charges brought to a person fighting traffic violations and criminal offenses. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County criminal defense lawyer, call 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-1201

http://illinoiscarlaws.com/railroad-crossing-laws/

https://oli.org/about-us/news/statistics/collisions-by-state

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Avvo Illinois State Bar Association Kane COunty Bar Association
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