Bill Introduced in Indiana Senate Would Fine Railroads for Excessive Grade Crossing Blocking

A bill has been introduced in the Indiana Senate that would fine railroads for excessive blocking of highway grade crossings.

Senate Bill 27 would impose civil penalties on railroads for obstructions of grade crossings that exceed 10 minutes with fines imposed on a sliding scale tied to how long the crossing was blocked.

The bill also “provides that the civil penalties are in addition to any judgments for infractions.”

The bi-partisan proposal was submitted by Sen. Dennis Kruse and Sen. Carlin Yoder, and co-authored by Sen. Brandt Hershman, Sen. Earline Rogers, and Sen. Frank Mrvan.

The bill provides for fines up to $500 for a blockage up to 20 minutes, fines up to $700 for a blockage up to 25 minutes, fines up to $900 for a blockage up to 30 minutes, and fines up to $1,000 for a blockage more than 30 minutes, plus an additional $500 for each five minute increment beyond that.

At the request of organized labor, the bill was revised so that the fines are levied against railroad companies and not crew members of the offending trains.

That change came after testimony from union member railroad workers. As originally written, the bill would have imposed fines on railroad crew members.

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