FRA issues final rule on highway rail-grade crossings

The 10 states with the most highway rail-grade crossing collisions, on average, over the past three years must develop a highway rail-grade crossing action plan, according to a final rule (.pdf file) issued by the Federal Railroad Administration.

The final rule, published in the June 28 Federal Register, is aimed at the development, review and approval of highway rail-grade crossing action plans, which are intended to reduce collisions and identify areas in need of attention, among other benefits. The final rule is scheduled to go into effect on Aug. 27.

FRA had planned on an effective date of Nov. 2, 2009 for a direct final rule issued Sept. 2, 2009, but received at least one adverse comment and request for an oral hearing. The agency later removed the changes effected by the direct final rule and published a notice of proposed rulemaking. FRA held the oral hearing Feb. 22 to hear issues and concerns about the NPRM. The agency also extended the comment period 14 days to March 8.

FRA reports that from 2006 to 2008, the 10 states with the most rail-grade crossing collisions accounted for 51 percent of all rail-grade crossing collisions nationwide. Highway vehicle damage accounted for 546 fatalities and 1,666 injuries.

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