49 U.S. Code § 20151 - Railroad trespassing, vandalism, and highway-rail grade crossing warning sign violation prevention strategy

(a) Evaluation of Existing Laws.— In consultation with affected parties, the Secretary of Transportation shall evaluate and review current local, State, and Federal laws regarding trespassing on railroad property, vandalism affecting railroad safety, and violations of highway-rail grade crossing signs, signals, markings, or other warning devices and develop model prevention strategies and enforcement laws to be used for the consideration of State and local legislatures and governmental entities. The first such evaluation and review shall be completed within 1 year after the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The Secretary shall revise the model prevention strategies and enforcement codes periodically.
(b) Outreach Program for Trespassing and Vandalism Prevention.— The Secretary shall develop and maintain a comprehensive outreach program to improve communications among Federal railroad safety inspectors, State inspectors certified by the Federal Railroad Administration, railroad police, and State and local law enforcement officers, for the purpose of addressing trespassing and vandalism problems on railroad property, and strengthening relevant enforcement strategies. This program shall be designed to increase public and police awareness of the illegality of, dangers inherent in, and the extent of, trespassing on railroad rights-of-way, to develop strategies to improve the prevention of trespassing and vandalism, and to improve the enforcement of laws relating to railroad trespass, vandalism, and safety.
(c) Model Legislation.—
(1) Within 18 months after November 2, 1994, the Secretary, after consultation with State and local governments and railroad carriers, shall develop and make available to State and local governments model State legislation providing for—
(A) civil or criminal penalties, or both, for vandalism of railroad equipment or property which could affect the safety of the public or of railroad employees; and
(B) civil or criminal penalties, or both, for trespassing on a railroad owned or leased right-of-way.
(2) Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, the Secretary, after consultation with State and local governments and railroad carriers, shall develop and make available to State and local governments model State legislation providing for civil or criminal penalties, or both, for violations of highway-rail grade crossing signs, signals, markings, or other warning devices.
(d) Definition.— In this section, the term “violation of highway-rail grade crossing signs, signals, markings, or other warning devices” includes any action by a motorist, unless directed by an authorized safety officer—
(1) to drive around a grade crossing gate in a position intended to block passage over railroad tracks;
(2) to drive through a flashing grade crossing signal;
(3) to drive through a grade crossing with passive warning signs without ensuring that the grade crossing could be safely crossed before any train arrived; and
(4) in the vicinity of a grade crossing, who creates a hazard of an accident involving injury or property damage at the grade crossing.

Source

(Added Pub. L. 103–440, title II, § 219(a),Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4625; amended Pub. L. 104–287, § 5(49),Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3393; Pub. L. 110–432, div. A, title II, § 208(a),Oct. 16, 2008, 122 Stat. 4875.)
References in Text

The date of enactment of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, referred to in subsecs. (a) and (c)(2), is the date of enactment of div. A of Pub. L. 110–432, which was approved Oct. 16, 2008.
Amendments

2008—Pub. L. 110–432, § 208(a)(1), substituted “Railroad trespassing, vandalism, and highway-rail grade crossing warning sign violation prevention strategy” for “Railroad trespassing and vandalism prevention strategy” in section catchline.
Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 110–432, § 208(a)(2), added subsec. (a) and struck out former subsec. (a). Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “In consultation with affected parties, the Secretary of Transportation shall evaluate and review current local, State, and Federal laws regarding trespassing on railroad property and vandalism affecting railroad safety, and develop model prevention strategies and enforcement laws to be used for the consideration of State and local legislatures and governmental entities. The first such evaluation and review shall be completed within 1 year after November 2, 1994. The Secretary shall revise such model prevention strategies and enforcement codes periodically.”
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 110–432, § 208(a)(3), inserted “for Trespassing and Vandalism Prevention” after “Outreach Program” in heading.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 110–432, § 208(a)(4), designated existing provisions as par. (1), redesignated former pars. (1) and (2) as subpars. (A) and (B), respectively, of par. (1), and added par. (2).
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 110–432, § 208(a)(5), added subsec. (d).
1996—Subsecs. (a), (c). Pub. L. 104–287substituted “November 2, 1994” for “the date of enactment of the Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of 1994”.

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49 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large

 

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