The federal Railroad Administration recently enacted a new rule with the goal of reducing highway-rail grade crossing accidents that cause a substantial number of injuries and deaths each year. In the past five years there were a total of 11,760 highway-rail crossing accidents. The rule C.F.R. 224 Reflectorization of Rail Freight Rolling Stock, sets standards to enhance the visibility of rail freight rolling stock to ensure that people driving at night or under poor visibility conditions can see trains on highway-rail crossings.
The rule requires retroreflective sheeting be applied on each side of every railcar and locomotive within a prescribed time and it requires inspection, repair and replacement of the sheeting. The minimum amount of retroreflective sheeting will depend on the length of the car and the color of the sheeting. The rule also prescribes the exact location of the retroreflective sheeting depending on the type of railcar. All new cars built after May 21, 2005 must have retroreflective sheeting conforming to this rule. All railcars must comply by May 31, 2015 and locomotives by May 31, 2010. The required compliance may however, be earlier, sine railcars need to be inspected for the presence and condition of sheeting whenever a car undergoes a single car air brake test. Locomotives are inspected for the presence and condition of sheeting annually.
The new rule went into effect on November 28, 2005, and places responsibility for compliance with the owners of the freight rolling stock, railroads, and manufacturers of retroreflective material.
The FELA lawyers of Yaeger & Jungbauer Barristers, PLC invite you to contact their office for further discussion of this topic. This article is designed for general information only and should be considered neither formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer client relationship.