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  • Summary date: Apr 17 2023 - View Summary





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    Effective January 1, 2024, amends GS 20-88.1(d) to require the NC Division of Motor Vehicles to include in the driver license handbook information about the Emergency Notification System (ENS) for telephonic reporting of unsafe conditions at railroad and pathway grade crossings. Specifies certain information to be included in the handbook. Amends GS 115C-215 to also require the driver's education curriculum in public high schools to include that same information, applies beginning with the 2023-24 school year.

    Adds new GS 14-111.5 to make it unlawful to misuse the ENS. Knowingly violating this statute is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2023.

    Adds new GS 20-142.3A to require a school bus driver who is stalled on railroad tracks to report the bus location to the ENS and to the bus transportation system owner, after evacuating passengers to a safe location. Amends GS 20-218 to require the Division of Motor Vehicles to prepare and then update a school bus driver handbook explaining rules and laws governing bus drivers, including instruction on GS 20-142.3 (Certain vehicles must stop at railroad grade crossing) and new GS 20-142.3A.

    Adds new GS 136-208 to limit the length of a train to 8,500 feet and makes violation of the limit a Class 1 misdemeanor with specified fines. Excludes railroads operating only tourist, scenic, or historic excursions.

    Adds new GS 136-209 to require railroad trains or light engines (as defined) used in a Class 1 railroad, as defined by the Federal Surface Transportation Board, in the connection with movement of freight to have a crew of at least two persons and makes violation of the requirement a Class 1 misdemeanor with specified fines. Sets out exemptions.

    Recodifies GS 136-190 through GS 136-198 as Part I of Article 15 of GS Chapter 136. Adds new Part 2 to Article 15 of GS Chapter 136, to be cited as the North Carolina Rail Safety Improvement Act (NCRSIA, as follows. Sets out definitions in new GS 136-201. Adds new GS 136-202 to require railroads operating in the state to have wayside detector systems (electronic device or connected devices that scan passing trains for defects) on every main line at specified intervals. Sets out actions that the train crew must take upon receiving a defect message, including based on the inspection, and a determination by the crew of the train that it is safe for movement, proceed along the line at a speed not exceeding 10 miles per hour if the train includes hazardous, explosive, or flammable materials or not exceeding 30 miles per hour otherwise. Adds new GS 136-203 to make it unlawful for a train, railroad care, or engine to obstruct public traffic at a grade crossing for more than ten minutes unless the train meets certain conditions for continuous movement or events outside the train’s control. Adds new GS 163-204 to require railroads operating in the state to provide walkways with specified characteristics adjacent to portions of yard tracks, main line switching tracks, siding, or industrial access tracks maintained by a railroad. Adds new GS 136-205 to require railroads to give access to their property to union representatives to investigate any complaint, violation, incident, injury, or fatality reported by a crew member. Adds new GS 136-206 to set civil penalties for violations of NCRSIA.

    Effective January 1, 2024.