The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has made a recommendation to provide federal highway safety incentive grants to states to advance innovative pilot programs designed to increase enforcement of grade crossing traffic laws at both active and passive crossings.
The recommendation comes after the NTSB determined that the probable cause of a 1999 collision between an Amtrak train and a truck tractor-semitrailor combination vehicle in Bourbonnais, Ill., was the truck driver's inappropriate response to the grade crossing warning devices and his judgment, likely impaired by fatigue, that he could cross the tracks before the arrival of the train.
Following the collision, the Canadian National/Illinois Central Railroad installed video cameras and recording equipment at the site and several nearby crossings.
Some states and organizations have already developed innovative ways of approaching grade crossing enforcement. Operation Lifesaver organizations in several states have conducted programs to place law officers on trains and at stationary locations along the trains' routes. Other entities, like the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, use photo enforcement at grade crossings.