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Oregon Laws, Roadway Signs and Safety Tips

 

Oregon Laws

Regarding Rail Crossings and Rail Property

For Pedestrians:

For Drivers:

Fines and Penalties for Violations and Crimes:

Warning Signs. These are round signs, painted yellow, with a large black X and the letters RR painted in black. You will see them posted in advance of all highway-rail grade crossings.

 

 

Pavement Markings. You may see pavement markings, consisting of a large white X, the letters RR and a stop line, painted white on the pavement in front of a crossing. Always stay behind the painted stop line while waiting for a passing train.

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Regulatory Devices:

 

Traffic regulations govern these devices, and disregarding them is a violation of those regulations.

 

Railroad Crossbuck Signs. You will find railroad crossbuck signs at all public crossings. Treat them the same as a yield sign. The driver should slow down and must stop if a train approaches the crossing. The driver may continue once the crossing is clear. If there is more than one track, a sign below the crossbuck indicates the number of tracks.

Flashing Light Signals. Many grade crossings have flashing light signals combined with crossbuck signs. You must treat these devices as a stop sign or red traffic light. Always stop when the lights begin to flash; this means a train is coming. If there is more than one track, make sure all tracks are clear before crossing. Do not continue through the crossing until it is clear and the lights cease flashing.

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Gates. Gated crossings are a further refinement of flashing light signals. They mean the same as ordinary flashing light signals. Stop when the lights begin to flash and before the gate begins to lower across your road lane. Do not attempt to cross until the gates are raised and the lights have stopped flashing. Do not attempt to drive around the gates. Do not stop directly on a gated crossing where there is the risk of getting trapped on it by lowered gates.

 

Driving Special Vehicles:

Motorcycles and Bicycles. Motorcycles and bicycles should approach all highway-rail grade crossings slowly and then cross the tracks at as nearly a 90 degree angle as possible. Riders should also follow all other safety guidelines listed here.

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School Bus School Buses and Commercial Buses. School Buses and buses carrying passengers for hire must stop at ALL grade crossings in most states. The driver must check both directions for approaching trains and then proceed only when it is clearly safe to do so, selecting a gear that will not require a change of gears until the bus has crossed the tracks. A bus driver must never change gears while crossing the tracks.

 

 

Trucks Carrying Hazardous Materials. Trucks carrying hazardous materials must also stop at ALL grade crossings. Drivers should come to a gradual stop, to minimize the possibility of causing another driver to have an accident, and never change gears while crossing the tracks. Wherever possible, they should reroute away from grade crossings OR use grade crossings equipped with flashing lights and gates.

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Safety Tips:

Expect A Train On Any Track At Any Time . Freight trains do not travel on a regular schedule. Passenger trains change schedules several times a year, and they can often run early or late. Be cautious at a grade crossing at any time of the day or night.

Don't Get Trapped On A Grade Crossing. Never drive onto a grade crossing until you are sure you can clear the tracks. Once you have started across the tracks, keep going, especially if you see a train approaching.

Never Drive Around The Gates. If the gates are down, stop and stay in place. Do not cross the tracks until the gates are raised and the lights have stopped flashing.

Watch Out For The Second Train. When you are at a multiple-track crossing and the last car of the train passes the crossing, do not proceed until you are sure that no other train is coming on another track, especially from the opposite direction. A good habit is to count at least five seconds before proceeding.

Get Out Of Your Vehicle If It Stalls. If your vehicle stalls on a crossing, get everyone out and off the tracks immediately. If a train is coming, run at an angle away from the tracks toward the direction from which the train is approaching. If no train is in sight, post lookouts and try to start the vehicle or push it off the tracks.

Never Race A Train. Racing a train to a crossing is foolhardy. You will never have a second chance if you lose.

Watch For Vehicles That Must Stop at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings. Be prepared to stop when you are following buses or trucks that are required to stop at highway-rail grade crossings.

Don't Misjudge The Train's Speed And Distance. Because of the large size of a train and the perspective at which you see it, it appears to move much slower than you think. If you have any doubts, stop and wait for the train to pass.

Trains Can't Stop Quickly...You Can. The stopping distance for a freight train of approximately 6,000 tons, traveling at 55 mph, is 5,280 feet -- one mile. At that distance, the train crew cannot see you on the tracks.

Grade Crossing Safety at Night. It is very important to watch out for highway-rail grade crossings at night. In the darkness, it is particularly difficult to judge speed and distance. If you have any doubts, it is always better to drive cautiously.

A word from Operation Lifesaver. People could have prevented many tragic collisions if they had followed the safety tips on this page. Study them carefully and pass them along to family members and friends.

 

 

Oregon Laws for pedestrians and motorists:

 

809.407 Suspension of commercial driver license for specified railroad crossing violations. (1) The driver of a commercial motor vehicle is subject to suspension of the driver’s commercial driver license upon conviction of any of the following offenses:

      (a) Failure to stop for a railroad signal in violation of ORS 811.455.
      (b) Failure to follow rail crossing procedures for high-risk vehicles in violation of ORS 811.460.

      (c) Obstructing a rail crossing in violation of ORS 811.475.
      (d) Failure of the operator of a commercial motor vehicle to slow down and check that tracks are clear of an approaching train in violation of ORS 811.462.

      (2) Upon receipt of a record of conviction for an offense described in subsection (1) of this section, the Department of Transportation shall suspend the convicted person’s commercial driver license for the following periods of time:

(a) Sixty days if:

   (A) The conviction is the person’s first conviction of an offense described in subsection (1) of this section; or

      (B) The date the person committed an offense described in subsection (1) of this section is not within three years of the date the person committed another offense, as described in subsection (1) of this section and for which there was a conviction.

      (b) One hundred and twenty days if:

      (A) The conviction is the person’s second conviction of an offense described in subsection (1) of this section;

   (B) The date the person committed the second offense is within three years of the date the person committed another offense, as described in subsection (1) of this section and for which there was a conviction; and

      (C) The convictions arose out of separate incidents.

      (c) One year if:

      (A) The conviction is the person’s third or subsequent conviction for an offense described in subsection (1) of this section;

      (B) The date the person committed the latest offense is within three years of the dates the person committed two or more other offenses, as described in subsection (1) of this section and for which there were convictions; and

      (C) The convictions arose out of separate incidents.

      (3) A person is entitled to administrative review under ORS 809.440 of a suspension under this section. [2001 c.492 2; 2003 c.402 27; 2011 c.470 3]

 

 

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811.305 Driving on left on curve or grade or at intersection or rail crossing; exceptions; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of driving on the left on a curve or grade or at an intersection or rail crossing if the person is operating a vehicle upon any two-way roadway where traffic is permitted to move in both directions simultaneously and the person drives on the left side of the center of the roadway:

(a) Upon any part of a grade or upon a curve in the roadway where the driver’s view is obstructed for such a distance as to create a hazard in the event another vehicle might approach from the opposite direction;

(b) When approaching an intersection or railroad grade crossing where the driver’s view is obstructed for such a distance as to create a hazard in the event another vehicle might approach from the opposite direction; or

(c) At any intersection or railroad grade crossing.

(2) This section does not prohibit a person from driving on the left side of the center of a roadway under the following circumstances:

(a) When the right half of the roadway is obstructed or closed to traffic while under construction or repair; or

(b) When a driver makes a lawful left turn.

(3) The offense described in this section, driving on the left on a curve or grade or at an intersection or rail crossing, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 617]

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811.455 Failure to stop for railroad signal; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of failure to stop for a railroad signal if the person fails to comply with any of the following requirements:

(a) A person who is driving a vehicle must stop the vehicle at a clearly marked stop line on the near side of a railroad crossing or, if there is no clearly marked stop line, not less than 15 feet nor more than 50 feet from the nearest rail of the crossing under any of the following circumstances:

(A) When a clearly visible electric or mechanical signal is given by a device that warns of the immediate approach of a railroad train.

(B) Upon the lowering of a crossing gate.

(C) When a signal given by a flagger or police officer indicates the approach or passage of a railroad train.

(D) When an approaching train is clearly visible and because of its nearness to the crossing is an immediate hazard.

(E) When an audible signal is given by an approaching railroad train because its speed or nearness to the crossing is an immediate hazard.

(b) A driver who has stopped for the passing of a train at a railroad grade crossing in accordance with the provisions of this section shall not proceed across the railroad tracks until the driver can do so safely.

(c) A person shall not drive any vehicle through, around or under a crossing gate or barrier at a railroad crossing while the gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed.

(2) The offense described in this section, failure to stop for a railroad signal, is a Class B traffic violation.

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811.460 Failure to follow rail crossing procedures for high-risk vehicles; application; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of failure to follow rail crossing procedures for high-risk vehicles if the person takes any vehicle described in this section across any railroad or rail fixed guideway system tracks at grade without doing all of the following:

(a) Stopping the vehicle at a clearly marked stop line or, if there is not a clearly marked stop line, not less than 15 feet nor more than 50 feet from the nearest rail of the railroad or rail fixed guideway system.

(b) While so stopped, listening and looking in both directions along the tracks for approaching trains or rail fixed guideway system vehicles and for signals indicating approaching trains or rail fixed guideway system vehicles.

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(c) Proceeding across the tracks after stopping only when such movement can be performed safely in the gear of the motor vehicle that does not require manually changing gears while proceeding.

(d) Proceeding across the tracks without manually changing gears.

(2) This section applies to the following vehicles when moved across railroad or rail fixed guideway system tracks:

(a) A school bus.

(b) A school activity vehicle with a loaded weight of 10,000 pounds or more.

(c) A worker transport bus.

(d) Any bus operated for transporting children to and from church or an activity or function authorized by a church.

(e) Any vehicle used in the transportation of persons for hire by a nonprofit entity as provided under ORS 825.017 (9).

(f) A commercial bus.

(g) A motor vehicle carrying as a cargo or part of a cargo any explosive substance, inflammable liquids, corrosives or similar substances or any cargo that the Department of Transportation determines to be hazardous. For purposes of this paragraph, the department may only determine a substance to be hazardous by rule. Any rules adopted by the department to determine hazardous substances must be consistent with substances classified as hazardous by the United States Secretary of Transportation.

(h) A tank vehicle, whether loaded or empty, used for the transportation of any hazardous material.

(3) Exemptions to this section are provided under ORS 811.465.

(4) The offense described in this section, failure to follow rail crossing procedures for high-risk vehicles, is a Class B traffic violation.

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811.462 Failure of operator of commercial motor vehicle to slow down and check tracks; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of failure of the operator of a commercial motor vehicle to slow down and check that tracks are clear of an approaching train if the person:

(a) Is operating a commercial motor vehicle that is not required by ORS 811.460 to stop before reaching a rail crossing;

(b) Is approaching a rail crossing at grade; and

(c) Fails to slow down and check that the tracks are clear of an approaching train before proceeding across the railroad tracks.

(2) The offense described in this section, failure of the operator of a commercial motor vehicle to slow down and check that tracks are clear of an approaching train, is a Class B traffic violation. [2001 c.492 7]

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811.470 Improper movement of heavy equipment across rail crossing; application; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of improper movement of heavy equipment across a rail crossing if the person operates or moves any equipment described in this section upon or across any tracks at a railroad or rail fixed guideway system grade crossing without complying with any of the following:

(a) Before moving across the tracks, the person must give notice of an intended crossing to a responsible officer of the railroad or rail fixed guideway system in time for protection to be given.

(b) Where the railroad or rail fixed guideway system has provided a flagger, the person operating or moving such equipment shall obey the direction of the flagger.

(c) The person operating or moving such equipment must do all of the following:

(A) The person must stop before making the crossing at a clearly marked line or, if there is no clearly marked line, not less than 15 feet nor more than 50 feet from the nearest rail.

(B) While so stopped, the person must look and listen in both directions along the tracks for approaching trains.

(C) The person shall not proceed across the tracks unless the crossing can be made safely.

(2) This section applies to the operation of movement across railroad or rail fixed guideway system tracks of any crawler-type tractor, steam shovel, derrick, roller or any equipment or structure having a normal operating speed of 10 miles per hour or less or a vertical body or load clearance of less than one-half inch per foot of the distance between any two adjacent axles or in any event of less than nine inches, measured above the level surface of a roadway.

(3) The offense described in this section, improper movement of heavy equipment across a rail crossing, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 651; 1985 c.16 319; 1995 c.383 73; 1997 c.249 233; 2001 c.522 7]

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811.475 Obstructing rail crossing; penalty. (1) A person commits the offense of obstructing a rail crossing if the person is operating a vehicle and the person does either of the following:

(a) Drives onto any railroad or rail fixed guideway system grade crossing when there is not sufficient space on the other side of the railroad or rail fixed guideway system grade crossing to accommodate the vehicle the person is operating without obstructing the passage of other vehicles, pedestrians, railroad trains or rail fixed guideway system vehicles; or

(b) While driving a commercial motor vehicle, fails to negotiate the rail crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance.

(2) The offense described in this section is applicable whether or not a traffic control device indicates to proceed.

(3) The offense described in this section, obstructing rail crossings, is a Class B traffic violation. [1983 c.338 652; 1995 c.383 74; 2001 c.492 5; 2001 c.522 8]

 

814.030 Failure to obey bridge or railroad signal; penalty. (1) A pedestrian commits the offense of pedestrian failure to obey bridge or railroad signal if the pedestrian does any of the following:

(a) Enters or remains upon a bridge or approach to a bridge beyond the bridge signal, gate or barricade after a bridge operation signal has been given.

(b) Passes through, around, over or under any crossing gate or barrier at a bridge or railroad grade crossing while the gate or barrier is closed or being opened or closed.

(2) The offense described in this section, pedestrian failure to obey bridge or railroad signal, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 554; 1995 c.383 83]

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164.255 Criminal trespass in the first degree. (1) A person commits the crime of criminal trespass in the first degree if the person:

(a) Enters or remains unlawfully in a dwelling;

(b) Having been denied future entry to a building pursuant to a merchant’s notice of trespass, reenters the building during hours when the building is open to the public with the intent to commit theft therein;

(c) Enters or remains unlawfully upon railroad yards, tracks, bridges or rights of way; or

(d) Enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises that have been determined to be not fit for use under ORS 453.855 to 453.912.

(2) Subsection (1)(d) of this section does not apply to the owner of record of the premises if:

(a) The owner notifies the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the premises that the owner intends to enter the premises;

(b) The owner enters or remains on the premises for the purpose of inspecting or decontaminating the premises or lawfully removing items from the premises; and

(c) The owner has not been arrested for, charged with or convicted of a criminal offense that contributed to the determination that the premises are not fit for use.

(3) Criminal trespass in the first degree is a Class A misdemeanor. [1971 c.743 140; 1993 c.680 23; 1999 c.837 1; 2001 c.386 1; 2003 c.527 1]

 

 

164.245 Criminal trespass in the second degree. (1) A person commits the crime of criminal trespass in the second degree if the person enters or remains unlawfully in a motor vehicle or in or upon premises. 

(2) Criminal trespass in the second degree is a Class C misdemeanor. [1971 c.743 139; 1999 c.1040 9]

 

Note:  It is Illegal to walk upon and remain upon railroad tracks and railroad rights of way.

Violations (Traffic)

Crimes (Trespass 1 & 2)

Violation Level Fine Criminal Charge Fine Jail Time
Class A $435.00 Trespass 1 $2500+ Up to 1 Year
Class B $260.00 Trespass 2 $1,000+ Up to 30 Days
Class C $160.00 NA
Class D $110.00

NA

 

 

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