Governor Brown Signs Bill to Reduce Railroad Fatalities

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

(SACRAMENTO) –Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra’s (D-Pacoima) legislation to improve safety at railroad crossings for pedestrians and motorists was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

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 to motorists when large on-track railroad equipment approach and cross the railroad intersection.  AB 695 would require safety arms to lower and vehicles to stop at a safe distance whenever railroad equipment passes through a crossing. 

“It is alarming seeing the amount of railroad crossing accidents and fatalities in our state, and something must be done to protect motorists, pedestrians, and workers from being hurt,” said Assemblymember Bocanegra.  “This legislation might not change the world, but it could save a life.”

According to the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, 156 train-related fatalities occurred in California in 2016, once again leading the nation.  And last year, the Bay Area saw eight train-related accidents over the course of one week.

“This year, California already has 55 train-related deaths.  We need to improve safety at our rail crossings because too many people are unnecessarily getting hurt or killed,” added Assemblymember Bocanegra. “This is a good step in reducing the amount of train-related incidents across 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.