Drivers Ticketed For Stopping Atop Railroad Crossings

PLAINFIELD (CBS) — There’s a major crackdown on drivers who break the law at railroad crossings. It’s happening in suburban Plainfield, and if you get caught it’ll cost you plenty.

CBS 2’s Mike Parker has a word to the wise.

It may not sound like a big deal, but Plainfield police are dead serious about drivers who get caught up in slow moving traffic, then end up stopped within the white lines of a railroad grade crossing or even stopped on the tracks.

Thirty-one drivers were cited this weeks in about two hours at the crossing where Illinois Route 126 crosses the Canadian National Railroad tracks near Route 59.

Traffic Sgt. Eric Munson says one violator was unique.

“It was a gentleman checking his e-mail and/or texting,” Munson said. “A train would have hit his vehicle if it had come.”

During the afternoon rush, the traffic on 126 can slow to a crawl. If drivers aren’t careful, they can end up trapped on the tracks.

It may sound like a minor violation. But in 2005, a similar snarl in Elmwood Park caused a commuter train to slam into stopped vehicles trapped at a crossing. The cars were tossed about like toys, and 16 people were hurt.

But even if cars are simply stopped within a few feet of the tracks, the 3- to 5-foot overhang of the train can cause tragedy.

“That train’s going to hit you if you’re close enough,” Sgt. Munson says. “When a train hits yout, that’s a significant amount of crash force. That train is always going to win.”

The crackdown is timely. In the next year, the number of trains rolling through Plainfield will rise from about 20 to about 42 every day.

Violators will feel some pain. There could be fines of up to $500, plus $145 in court costs. And the offender’s driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days.

  • righttrack

    The tickets are stilll cheaper than a car repair or hospital bills, or worst case scenario – a funeral. Never cross the tracks unless you can clear them on the other side.

  • Dan Rakow

    I,m very please that Plainfield Finest is giving tough attenion to drivers with Railroad Grade Crossing being a very dangerous place for Vecihels to stop at.

  • Linda Findlay Love

    For those who don’t remember, back in about 1977 or 78, 3 Plainfeifld HS sutdents were in a car racing the train that was coming. 2 of the kids were killed and one survived the accident. Enought said. This has been going on for a long time and needs to be handled. I’ve crossed those tracks and really perfer to go a different direction. Not a good place to be. My kids and my niece knew these boys.

  • Sally

    People are so stupid. It’s common sense to stop before crossing and then proceding when enough room is available on the other side. I see people not following this rule every day.

  • More Than 30 Ticketed for Stopping Too Close to Railroad Tracks |

    […] Munson told WBBM-TV (Channel 2) that the crackdown, which will be done again the week of March 21, was meant to draw attention to the crossing laws as Canadian National gets ready to start increasing the number of trains going through Plainfield from 20 to more than 40 over the next year. […]

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