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Minutes for HB2225 - Committee on Transportation

Short Title

Adding on-track train equipment to the circumstances that a vehicle driver must stop at railroad crossings.

Minutes Content for Thu, Mar 21, 2019

Chairperson Petersen opened the hearing on HB2225.

Mr. Siebers explained that the bill augments the statute that requires a driver to stop at a railroad crossing for an approaching train; the bill also requires a driver to stop for approaching railroad equipment vehicles.

Steve Titus, Kansas State Legislative Director, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, Division of International Brotherhood of Teamsters, testified as a proponent .  He explained that because of limited visibility of those driving some railroad equipment and the extended stopping distance required for such equipment, the bill provides an important safety factor for railroad workers.  He noted that 18 other states have passed similar legislation (Attachment 2).

Mr. Titus responded to members' questions:

  • The speed of most railroad equipment is limited to 25 mph; high-rail vehicles are limited to 45 mph.
  • In theory any piece of railroad equipment approaching a crossing will trigger the warning lights and crossbar.
  • There have been 34 crossing accidents during the past year; most have occurred because a driver has ignored the lights and tried to go around the crossbar.

The Chair noted a written-only proponent, Aaron Mays, Executive Director, Kansas Operations Lifesaver (Attachment 3).  Chairperson Petersen then closed the hearing on HB2225.