Lepore-Hagan Introduces Bipartisan Railroad Safety Bill
Legislation aims to help prevent motorist, rail equipment collisions

State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 190, bipartisan legislation designed to significantly enhance the safety of the state’s railroad crossings for both motorists and rail workers. 

“Some on-track maintenance equipment has evolved into ‘train like’ machines that can’t stop on a dime, while other equipment does not activate railroad crossing gates,” said Lepore-Hagan. “In either case, a collision between a car, truck or motorcycle and rail maintenance equipment can have devastating consequences for everyone involved.” 

Co-sponsored by Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton), HB 190 will make it mandatory for motorists to stop when maintenance of way and other types of equipment operated by railroad employees or contractors is approaching or traveling through a railroad crossing. Under current law, motorists are only required to stop for trains. 

“Using care when approaching railroad crossings is one of the first things people are taught when they’re learning to drive,” said Lepore-Hagan. “But the lesson—and the law—focus on trains even though other equipment regularly travels on the thousands of miles of track that crisscross our state and pass through gated and ungated crossings. HB 190 will strengthen the law, raise awareness and make Ohio’s motorists, their passengers and railroad workers much safer.” 

The Youngstown lawmaker noted that neither the state nor the Department of Transportation would incur costs to implement the law in Ohio. 

“Safety is truly a bipartisan issue,” Lepore-Hagan added. “That’s why I’m pleased and proud that Majority Leader Schuring is working with me to make Ohio’s railroad crossings safer for all of us.”  

Similar legislation has been enacted in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin Massachusetts, Montana, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming.

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