H. B. 4430

(By Delegates L. Smith, Hall, Warner,

Mattaliano, Douglas, Staton and Boggs

[Introduced February 7, 2000; referred to the

Committee on Roads and Transportation then the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend and reenact sections two and six, article two-a, chapter thirty-one of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to blocking emergency vehicles at railroad crossings; and penalties.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That sections two and six, article two-a, chapter thirty-one of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
§31-2A-2. Blocking of crossing prohibited; time limit.

(a) It shall be is unlawful for any railroad company, except in an emergency, to order, allow or permit the operation of or to operate or to so operate its system so that a train blocks the passage of vehicular traffic over the railroad crossing of any public street, road or highway of this state for a period longer than ten minutes. This section does not apply to an obstruction of any such street, road or highway caused by a continuously moving train or caused by circumstances wholly beyond the control of the railroad, but does apply to all other obstructions as aforesaid, including, but not limited to, those caused by a stopped train or a train engaged in switching, loading or unloading operations: Provided, That if any such train is within the jurisdictional limits of any municipality which now has or hereafter shall have in force and effect an ordinance limiting the time a railroad crossing may be blocked by a train, such ordinance shall govern, and the provisions of this article shall not be applicable.
(b) Upon receiving notification from a law-enforcement officer, member of a fire department, operator of an emergency vehicle, or a member of an emergency services provider that emergency circumstances require the immediate clearing of a public highway railroad grade crossing, the members of the train crew of the train, railroad car or equipment, or engine blocking such crossing shall immediately notify the appropriate railroad dispatcher of the pending emergency situation. Upon receipt of notice of such emergency circumstances by the train crew or dispatcher, the railroad shall immediately clear the crossing, consistent with the safe operation of the train.
§31-2A-6. Fines and penalties.

If any railroad company, carrier or railroad shall violate violates the provisions of this article it shall be is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than fifty one thousand dollars.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide that a train may be cleared from a public highway railroad crossing when it is blocking certain emergency vehicles.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.