"Exempt" Signs...Should They Be Mandatory?

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"Exempt" Signs...Should They Be Mandatory?

  • Yes

    Votes: 2 25.0%
  • No

    Votes: 6 75.0%

  • Total voters
    8
  • Poll closed .

Sean R Das

Railfan
Commercial vehicles are required by law to treat grade crossings as if they were four-way stops: after coming to a complete stop at the near side of the crossing, and making sure that no trains are approaching, they may proceed across the tracks.

When a railroad decides to abandon a line, grade crossings along the line are fitted with a sign that usually says "Exempt" or "Tracks Out of Service." This means that commercial vehicles can proceed over the crossing uninterrupted, as there are no trains using this crossing.

However, railroad mamagement often neglects to put such signs at some crossings. For example, on South Lander Street south of Downtown Seattle, just west of the crossing of BNSF's four-track mainline, there is a single-track west of Occidental Avenue South, and although the tracks of the crossing itself were left in place, the tracks leading to and from it were removed. However, BNSF neglected to put up an "Exempt" sign at this crossing, and commercial vehicle drivers (especially Metro Bus drivers) often "stop and proceed" at the crossing, unaware that the tracks leading to it have been removed.

Thie question is--should railroads be required by law to put up Exempt signs at ALL abandoned crossings or face penalties?
 

GHLines

A.K.A Kaivo
Personally, I believe the "stop and proceed" policy is dated and unsafe, unless vision at the crossing is obstructed. Also, sometimes "exempt" crossings see use by motorcars.
 

DrewSD

New Member
No, its not really that big of deal if they do stop, since the only ones who stop are buses and hazmat vehicles. I don't think that extra minute really matters too much in the grand scheme of things
 

kenw

5th Generation Texian
It would be the govt (city, state, etc) responsibility, not the railroad.
 
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Crow

Member
As Ken said, it's the road authorities responsibility. Also, remember is 99.9% of the cases, its the road crossing the tracks, as in the track were there well before the road was. Complain to your local road authority and make them put up the signs.
 

Sean R Das

Railfan
No, its not really that big of deal if they do stop, since the only ones who stop are buses and hazmat vehicles. I don't think that extra minute really matters too much in the grand scheme of things
That may be true, but it's slightly annoying for even a commercial vehicle to yield to rail traffic that is nonexistent at a particular crossing.
 

HDSDcouple

The Unwanted Line
Well As a Truck driver of 24 plus years, I have to say the stop and proceed method causes more Car/truck accidents then truck/train accidents in trucks that don't have to stop by law. As of Now only placarded (haz-mat) loads are required to stop at crossings. The laws of commercial traffic stopping for train crossings is by far out dated. with the techno garbage we have today there is no need for this stop and proceed. Many many many studies have been done in the trucking world proven the single most cause of trucking accidents is Vehicles traveling at to different speed. This is a various amount of combinations, truck stop at crossing car moving at posted speeds trucks at 55 car at 65 ect ect ect. I really think the stop and porceed needs to be removed all together. Bottom line a distracted driver, truck or car, is still going to cause an accident no matter what sign is posted. And as far as a crossing that is on the ground and has no tracks on either side, well I can tell there is such a thing as common sence in driving a truck? if there are no track how can there be a train correct? IF those bus and or truck drivers are that unaware that there are no tracks there, i question if they should even be driving a commercial vehicle. Because they certianly are not aware of there surrounds and they are an accident waiting to happen. It is not funny but i have to lol. I have had this ongoing arguement with the Owner operators association, NHSA and other that attend the truck trade show in Vegas every year. They make trucking equipment smarter, electric log, Qualcomm and even engine computers, just so they can hire dumber driver to meet the industry demand. dumber drivers with no experence and no common sense are going to cause accidents with or without a sign.

Ok i shut up and sit down and await my verbale beating
 

Norm Echtinaw

New Member
No tracks on either side of the crossing means the RR should remove the warning signals and possibly the crossing itself.

Just my humble.
 

pporro

JAFO
It's the law that they stop, so the signs should be mandatory notification. Knowing a crossing has no rails up to it, doesn't change the legal requirements, the sign does.

Now I need to add. It's logically worse to have a vehicle come to a complete stop and then start up again at a crossing, than it is to slow down and look. Starting from a dead stop puts the vehicle in the crossing for a longer time and would be the time where clutch or transmission problems would leave it stranded blocking the tracks.

The law is outdated, but it's the law.
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
If it costs money, the railroad won't do it unless it is compelled. Public opinion can be compelling.
 

Rader Sidetrack

New Member
Commercial vehicles are required by law to treat grade crossings as if they were four-way stops: after coming to a complete stop at the near side of the crossing, and making sure that no trains are approaching, they may proceed across the tracks.
This is not true for the majority of commercial vehicles! Stopping at railroad tracks only applies to vehicles transporting passengers (buses) and trucks placarded with hazardous materials. The full details of Washington regulations on this are here:

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.61.350


Beyond that, the legal responsibility for getting abandoned crossings marked as "Exempt" is on the City of Seattle, not BNSF. Here's part of the relevant RCW:
The mayor and city council, or other governing body of any city or town, or the legislative authority of any county within which there exists any under-crossing, over-crossing, or grade crossing, or where any street or highway is proposed to be located or established across any railroad, or any railroad company whose road is crossed by any highway, may file with the commission their or its petition in writing, ....

The full text is here:
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=81.53.060

Get Mayor McGinn to do his job! :rolleyes:

.
 
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