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Rail News: Communication and Signal

New Illinois law allows cities to install cameras to enforce crossing regulations


On Tuesday, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a bill that allows local governments to use cameras at grade crossings to photograph motorists who drive around lowered gates.

To take effect Jan. 1, 2007, the law gives the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and state commerce commission the authority to work with counties and municipalities to establish automated enforcement systems at crossings. The systems would include cameras to take pictures of vehicles that drive around lowered gates or stop on tracks.

When a violation occurs, the vehicle’s owner will receive a traffic citation in the mail. A first offense is punishable by a $250 fine or 25 hours of community service; a second violation will result in a $500 fine and/or a six-month vehicle registration suspension.

Illinois legislators proposed the bill in response to a November 2005 crossing accident in Elmwood Park that injured 16 people. A Metra express train crashed into several cars that were stuck in rush-hour traffic and trapped at a crossing.

“Photo enforcement is a good way for the police to enforce railroad crossing signals and keep drivers safe,” said Blagojevich in a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/19/2006