The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division (BMWED) a division of the Teamsters Rail Conference, recently announced that the state of Nevada will be implementing new safety precautions at railroad crossings.
Effective October 1, Nevada law regarding a driver's responsibility at railroad crossings is changing. While current law requires drivers to yield to trains, a change will also require drivers to yield to on-track equipment.
“On-track equipment can include anything from a small, four-wheeled track inspection car up to a semitractor equipped to travel on rails towing rail cars,” Matt Parker, Manager of Operating Practices – Northern Region for West Coast Railroaders Group said. “Many in the public may not be aware of this equipment, or of their responsibility to yield to it at railroad crossings, but they should be. Just as with a train, a collision with a piece of this equipment poses the risk of serious injury or death, both to the equipment operators as well as vehicle occupants.”
“We've been able to update state statutes in 30 states so far to include 'the approach of on-track equipment' as a condition that a motorist would stop at a railroad grade crossing,“ Charlie Hogue, Director of Government Affairs for the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED) said. “But updating the state laws is just a first step. We have followed up with Operation Lifesaver and other railroad safety advocates to educate the public that there are other dangers associated with railroad grade crossings in addition to traditional trains if a motorist is unaware of their surroundings.”
Representing nearly 40,000 members who maintain the track and related structures of the nation's major railroads, many of whom operate on-track equipment as part of their daily duties, BMWED led the effort to effect this change to Nevada's motor vehicle laws. Led by a team of railroad professionals, West Coast Railroaders Group provides track car services to host railroads in western states including Nevada.