Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety isn't just a good idea...it's in the regulations!
Rules of the Road
Think of highway-rail grade crossings as a special type of intersection but one where the train always has the right of way.
Most people are probably familiar with the "rules of the road" from their early driver training but over time, they can begin to forget some of them. A useful refresher course for all truck drivers is the Commercial Drivers License (CDL) Manual, which provides information describing types of grade crossings, warning signs and devices, and driving procedures.
CFR Title 49 Parts 392 and 383
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) address highway-rail grade crossing safety in Part 392 and Part 383. Part 392 applies to drivers of all types of commercial motor vehicles. It was included in the very first FMCSRs, issued in 1936.
Part 383 applies to drivers required to hold a CDL. CDL drivers are held to standards that go beyond those for other CMV drivers. Table 3 of Section 383.51(d) lists the offenses and the periods for which a driver must be disqualified, if the driver is convicted of operating a CMV in violation of Federal, State, or local highway-grade crossing laws.
New Safety Regulations
On September 25, 2013, FMCSA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration published a new regulation to prohibit a driver of a CMV or of a motor vehicle transporting certain hazardous materials or certain agents or toxins from entering onto a highway-rail grade crossing unless there is sufficient space to drive completely through the crossing without stopping. Read the Highway-Rail Grade Crossing; Safe Clearance Final Rule.
Check for new information at the main FMCSA Rules and Regulations section.
State Laws and Regulations
States also have laws and regulations on grade-crossing safety. A traffic safety laws organization called the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances (NCUTLO) has developed a Model Law on highway-rail grade crossing safety for commercial motor vehicles.