OKLAHOMA CITY – Officers with the Oklahoma City Police Department are currently learning how to report violations of a new state law regarding stalled trains.
House Bill 2472 would fine railroad companies up to $1,000 if a train is stopped at an intersection for more than 10 minutes. The fines would not apply if the train is stopped due to a mechanical failure, an obstruction on the track, weather and waiting for another train to pass.
“We had a specific incident where the child could not get to the hospital because of the railroad crossing being blocked for a long period of time,” Rep. Charles McCall told KJRH.
Residents can call 911 to report when an Oklahoma City street is blocked by a stopped train for more than 10 minutes. Officers will then file an incident report with the Municipal Counselor’s Office, which will then be presented to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
“The thing we need citizens to remember is the officer is probably going to ask for your information because, in these cases, you would be considered a witness,” Sgt. Megan Morgan, with the Oklahoma City Police Department, said.
It may be necessary for the reporting party to appear at the hearing before the OCC to testify about what they saw.
Authorities are also asking drivers to call them back if you report a stopped train and it moves before the officer gets there.
“Keeping roadways clear is important for emergency access for firefighters, ambulances and police officers,” said Oklahoma City Police Chief Wade Gourley “Officers have been trained how to report potential violations and the various exceptions outlined in the law. People can call the police to report suspected violations, but it’s possible the train will move before officers arrive. When that happens, people should call back to let us know if they would still like an officer to respond, or we can cancel the call.”
The OCC has the authority to fine railroad operators for violations. Railroad operators can request a hearing before an administrative law judge.