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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Stopping at Railroad Grade Crossings


To assess the safety implications of allowing certain commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) with hazardous materials and buses to proceed through railroad grade crossings without stopping or slowing (rather than stopping all the time).


49 CFR Section 392.10 requires certain CMVs to stop at all railroad grade crossings, with limited exceptions (392.10(b)). Stopping at these crossings, especially on high-speed divided highways, has been identified as a potential crash hazard with concerns that CMVs can be involved in rear-end crashes while stopped. A number of industry organizations have inquired as to the safety impact of allowing certain CMVs to proceed without stopping at railroad grade crossings, especially at crossings that are well-marked and controlled, and especially on high-speed divided highways. The present rules were formulated in the mid-twentieth century at a time when most railroad grade crossings were un-gated. Since then, strides have been made to identify and control railroad grade crossings with sophisticated arm and light systems.


This project seeks to collect and analyze relevant data and assess the safety benefits for certain CMVs to proceed through railroad grade crossings without stopping or slowing (rather than stopping all the time).


Final report.



March 2018: Award project
April 2018: Begin data collection and analysis
August 2018: Complete data analysis
October 2018: Submit draft final report
December 2018: Submit final report
Report Publication        ☑       


FY18 Funding: $109,903


Project complete. The final report can be read at:

Project Manager:

For more information, contact Nicole Michel of the Research Division at


Pathfinder Consultants, LLC
Last updated: Tuesday, June 30, 2020