The Assembly Transportation Committee approved legislation by Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) to improve safety at railroad crossing for pedestrians and motorists, and prevent accidents from occurring.
Under California law, motorists must only observe railroad crossing safety arms and warnings when a train is approaching or crossing the intersection. However, the law is unclear on whether or not motorists must come to a stop at a safe distance from the tracks when large, ontrack railroad equipment approaches and crosses the intersection. AB 695 would require safety arms to lower and vehicles to stop whenever railroad equipment passes through a crossing.
“It is alarming to see the number of railroad crossing accidents and fatalities in our state. Something must be done to protect motorists, pedestrians, and workers from being hurt,” said Assemblymember Bocanegra. “AB 695 might not change the world, but it could save a life.”
According to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, 161 train-related fatalities occurred in California in 2016, leading the nation once again. Last year, the Bay Area saw eight train-related accidents over the course of just one week.
“We need to improve safety at our rail crossings because too many people are unnecessarily getting hurt or killed,” added Assemblymember Bocanegra. “This bill is a good step in reducing the amount of train-related car accidents in California.”
Raul Bocanegra is the Democratic Majority Whip in the California State Assembly. He represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the Los Angeles communities of Arleta, Granada Hills, Lakeview Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Shadow Hills, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar and the City of San Fernando.