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Jonathan Rosenfeld

March 2, 2023

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What Responsibilities do Pedestrians or Other Vehicles Have At Railroad Crossings? They must stay a safe distance from moving trains and railroad tracks, keep a clear lookout of the entire area, obey warning signals, proceed across the tracks with caution, and not engage in reckless or unreasonable conduct.

With metropolitan Chicago’s Metra commuter rail system and a hub for regional and national freight traffic, Illinois is among the states with the most miles of railroad tracks. Unfortunately, that distinction is accompanied by a high incidence of rail crossing accidents that have claimed lives and injured many.

In an effort to reduce the casualty rate, the Illinois legislature has enacted laws to protect the public. In addition to placing serious duties and responsibilities on railroad companies and train operators to avoid accidents, the law also requires the public to play its part in staying safe.

When the following conditions are present, Illinois law requires drivers and pedestrians to remain at least 15 feet from the railroad crossing and wait until the crossing signal allows them to proceed or the train has passed:

  • A clearly visible electric or mechanical signal device gives warning of the immediate approach of a railroad train or railroad track equipment
  • A crossing gate is lowered or a human flagman gives or continues to give a signal of the approach or passage of a railroad train or railroad track equipment
  • A railroad train or railroad track equipment approaching a highway crossing emits a warning whistle or horn and, by reason of its speed or nearness to such crossing, is an immediate hazard
  • An approaching railroad train or railroad track equipment is plainly visible and is in hazardous proximity to such crossing
  • A railroad train or railroad track equipment is approaching so closely that an immediate hazard is created

(625 ILCS 5/11-1201)
Under these conditions, pedestrians and drivers are not allowed to go around the gate or otherwise enter the railroad crossing to go over the tracks.

What are the Penalties for Disregarding Rail Crossing Safety Rules?

Penalties for violating these laws normally include monetary fines, community service, as well as suspension of your driver’s license and jail time if you are a repeat offender.

Responding to multiple rail crossing tragedies, the Illinois legislature has increased fines for violators who disregard railroad safety laws to $500 for a first violation and $1,000—plus a possible six-month suspension of driving privileges—for subsequent offenses.

Note that local towns and municipalities also have rules, fines, and other penalties for persons who disregard rail crossing warnings.

Was Another Party Responsible for Your Train Accident Injuries?

Even if it was not the train operator or rail company that was responsible for your injuries but another motorist or other third party, the experienced train accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can still help you get the compensation you deserve under Illinois law. We can take your case on contingency so you only have to pay for our legal services if we win compensation on your behalf. Call our offices today to learn more about how Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can protect your rights after a train accident.

Client Reviews

Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld.

- Michonne Proulx

Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own.

- Ethan Armstrong

Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan!

- Giulia

This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you.

- Daniel Kaim

Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial.

- Lisa
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