Crossing Treatment Procedures
State Laws and Regulations
177.120 Department may order elimination of grade crossings or substitution; standards to be set by administrative regulations; closure of grade crossings
(1) Whenever the department considers it necessary for the public safety, it may order any railroad company owning or operating a railroad in this state, to eliminate any grade crossing or change any existing overhead or underpass structure where any public road crosses the railroad tracks of the company. The department may determine whether a substitute crossing should be established and if so, the location of the crossing to be substituted, and whether it shall pass over or under the railroad tracks or intersect them at grade.
(2) In accordance with this section, the department shall promulgate administrative regulations by December 1, 1992, that contain standards governing the closure of public grade crossings. In adopting standards, the department shall request and consider written comments from affected local governments and shall consider that the number of redundant and inherently dangerous grade crossings in this state should be reduced and that public safety will be enhanced by reducing the number of redundant and inherently dangerous grade crossings.
(3) On or before July 1, 1993, and on or before July 1 of each of the next four (4) years, and as necessary thereafter, the department shall compose a list of grade crossings proposed to be closed. The list shall be developed by applying the standards set forth in the administrative regulations adopted under subsection (2) of this section. Grade crossings that are part of an abandonment, closing, or removal shall not be included in the list. The department shall notify the public officials having the necessary authority and the railway companies operating the railroads of the proposed closures. Either affected party may request a public hearing, and if requested, the department shall hold a public hearing and apply in its determination the information gained at the public hearing and administrative regulations developed under subsection (2) of this section. If after the hearing the department determines that closure is warranted, it may order the crossing closed.
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 177.120
177.190 Appeal by railroad company to Circuit Court
(1) Any railroad company dissatisfied with a final order of the department directing the elimination of any grade crossing or change of existing overhead or underpass structure, or any order modifying or amending the final order may appeal by filing a petition in the clerk’s office of the Franklin Circuit Court in accordance with KRS Chapter 13 B.
(2) On the hearing of the appeal, the Circuit Court shall determine whether the elimination of the grade crossing, or the change in existing overhead or underpass structure, is reasonably necessary for the safety of the traveling public, and whether the plans and specifications prescribed by the order of the department are reasonably adequate to provide safety of operation for the trains of the railroad company, its employees and the public, and make reasonably adequate provisions for the future development of the railroad company’s facilities.
(3) If the court finds from the evidence that the elimination of the grade crossing or change in existing overhead or underpass structure is not reasonably necessary for the safety of the traveling public, it shall, by final judgment, enjoin the department from enforcing its final order.
(4) If the court finds from the evidence that the elimination of the grade crossing or change in existing overhead or underpass structure is reasonably necessary for the safety of the traveling public, it shall, by final judgment, either order the railroad company to proceed with the work in accordance with the final order of the department, or in accordance with other plans and specifications prescribed by the court.
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 177.190
178.355 Procedure for ordering elimination of grade crossings or change of existing overhead or underpass structure crossing county road
(1) Whenever the fiscal court considers it reasonably necessary for the public safety, it may in the manner hereinafter provided, order any railroad company, either steam or electric, owning or operating a railroad in its county, to eliminate any existing grade crossing or change any existing overhead or underpass structure where any county road crosses the railroad tracks of such company.
(2) The fiscal court shall give at least ten (10) days’ notice by certified mail, return receipt requested to the railroad company of a hearing to be held at a time and place stated in the notice, at which hearing it shall consider whether or not the proposed grade separation or change is reasonably necessary and the most advantageous method of effecting the grade separation or change. In determining whether the proposed grade separation or change is reasonably necessary, the fiscal court shall receive evidence of, and shall consider, all relevant facts, including the present and prospective density of highway traffic and the present and prospective frequency and speed of train movements over the crossing, the adequacy of existing or proposed signals or warning devices for the protection of highway traffic at the grade crossings, the possibility and probability of personal injury to the public using the highway and to employees and passengers of the railroad company and damage to property, and the cost of the grade separation or change in relation to benefits resulting from the proposed construction. If the fiscal court finds that the grade separation or change is reasonably necessary, it shall make an order to that effect and furnish a copy thereof by certified mail, return receipt requested to the railroad company. The order shall specify a general plan for the new or changed grade separation. The order shall direct the railroad company to prepare plans, specifications and estimates of cost for the grade separation or change in accordance with the general plan prescribed by the order, or may provide that the plans, specifications and estimates of cost shall be prepared by the county if the grade separation structure shall pass over the railroad tracks. The plans, specifications and estimates of cost may, if requested by any public utility, provide facilities for such public utility.
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 178.355
189.651 Counterfeiting certificates; possession unlawful; permit not transferable; display—Repealed
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 189.651
State Laws, Regulations, and Penalties
277.200 Period of obstructing highway, street or navigable stream limited
(1) No railroad company shall obstruct any public highway or street, or the navigation of any stream, by stopping and permitting trains, engines or cars to stand upon a public grade crossing or upon a drawbridge for more than five (5) minutes at any one time, unless such stopping and standing is caused by circumstances beyond control of the railroad company.
(2) No member of a railroad train crew shall be held personally guilty of violating a municipal ordinance regulating the blocking of public grade crossings by trains, engines or cars, on proof that his action was necessary to comply with the orders or instructions of the railroad company or its officers; provided that nothing in this section shall relieve the railroad company from any responsibility placed upon it by said ordinance.
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 277.200
(1) Any railroad company that violates or permits any of its agents or employees to violate any of the provisions of KRS 277.110, subsection (1) of 277.160, 277.170, 277.180, 277.210, 277.230 or 277.300 shall, in addition to subjecting itself to any damages that may be caused by such violation, be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) for each offense, to be recovered in the Franklin Circuit Court or in the circuit court of any county through which the railroad operates a line of road.
(2) Any person who violates any of the provisions of subsection (2) of KRS 277.160 shall be fined not less than five dollars ($5) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense.
(3) Any railroad company that violates, or permits any of its agents or employees to violate, any of the provisions of KRS 277.190, shall, in addition to subjecting itself to liability for any damage caused thereby, be fined not less than ten dollars ($10) nor more than fifty dollars ($50) for each offense. Prosecutions under this subsection shall not be commenced after six (6) months from the commission of the offense charged in the prosecution.
(4) Any person who violates any of the provisions of KRS 277.250 shall be fined fifty dollars ($50) or imprisoned for thirty (30) days, or both.
(5) Any owner or operator of a railroad running through or within this state as a common carrier of persons or property or both, for compensation, who either operates for its employees, or who furnishes to its employees for their transportation to or from the place or places where they are required to labor, a rail track motor car that has not been fully equipped as required by KRS 277.245, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) for each offense and each day or part of a day it operates or furnishes each of such rail track motor cars not so equipped as provided in KRS 277.245 to its employees for operation to or from the place or places where they are required to work shall constitute a separate offense.
(6) Any railroad company that violates the provisions of KRS 277.200 shall be fined not less than twenty-five dollars ($25) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense. If a grade crossing or drawbridge is obstructed by two (2) or more trains stopping and standing thereon in succession without allowing accumulated highway or water traffic to pass, the obstruction by each such successive train shall constitute a separate offense.
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 277.990
State Laws and Regulations
189.560 Railroad crossings; duties of motor vehicle operators and commercial drivers; railroad’s liability for death or injury
(1) The operator of a vehicle shall stop and remain standing at a railroad grade crossing when any of the following conditions exist:
(a) A visible electric or mechanical signal device warns of the immediate approach of a railroad train or other on-track equipment;
(b) A crossing gate is lowered warning of the immediate approach or passage of a railroad train or other on-track equipment;
(c) An approaching train or other on-track equipment is visible and in hazardous proximity; or
(d) A human flagman signals the approach or passage of a train or other on-track equipment.
(2) In addition to subsection (1) of this section, a person who holds or is required to hold a CDL as defined in KRS 281A.010 and is driving a commercial motor vehicle shall:
(a) Slow down and check that the railroad tracks are clear of an approaching train;
(b) Stop and remain standing at a railroad grade crossing if the railroad tracks are not clear;
(c) Maintain sufficient space to drive completely through the railroad grade crossing without stopping; and
(d) Negotiate a railroad grade crossing only with sufficient undercarriage clearance.
(3) Whenever the tracks of any railroad or interurban railway over which trains or cars are regularly operated cross a state-maintained highway at grade, the cabinet may designate that crossing as “unsafe,” and no operator of any vehicle shall cross the crossing without first bringing his vehicle to a full stop no closer than a marked stop line or fifteen (15) feet, nor more than thirty (30) feet, from the nearest rail of the tracks.
(4) At crossings designated “unsafe,” the cabinet shall place and maintain on each side of the tracks on the right side of the highway, at the marked stopping position, or, if the stopping position is not marked, on the pavement not more than twenty-five (25) feet in advance of the track, an octagonal shape sign of a type and size currently approved for use by the cabinet bearing the word “Stop” in white letters not less than ten (10) inches in height.
(5) The cabinet shall install the signs described in subsection (3) of this section, within sixty (60) days after the crossing is designated unsafe.
(6) Subsections (3) to (5) of this section shall not apply to grade crossings at which have been constructed and maintained gates, electric warning signals, or other automatic audible signals, or which are protected by watchmen.
(7) The failure to observe subsections (3) to (6) of this section shall not change the liability of any railroad or interurban railway in the trial of any civil case against the railroad or interurban railway for death or injuries, to person or property.
(8) If subsection (7) of this section is declared unconstitutional, then subsections (3) to (8) of this section shall be ineffective.
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 189.560
277.160 Signs at railroad crossings; imitation forbidden
(1) Every railroad company shall cause signal boards to be placed and constantly maintained at each public highway where it is crossed by the railroad track at the same level, except that such boards need not be put up in any city unless required by the city authorities. The boards shall be well supported, and shall be placed so as to be easily seen by travelers and not to obstruct travel, and shall contain on each side, in capital letters at least five (5) inches high, the words “Railroad Crossing.”
(2) No person shall erect on or near a public highway any signboard or other contrivance similar to or like the danger signals used by railroads, interurbans and electric railway companies at road crossings.
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 277.160
Warning Devices- Train Borne
State Laws, Regulations, and Penalties
277.190 Bell to be rung or whistle sounded at crossings; local government regulation of sounding train whistles at night
(1) Every railroad company shall provide each locomotive engine running over any of its lines with a bell of ordinary size and a whistle. The bell shall be rung or the whistle sounded at a distance of at least fifty (50) rods from the place where the track crosses upon the same level any highway or crossing where a signboard is required to be maintained. The bell shall be rung or the whistle sounded continuously or alternately until the engine has reached the highway or crossing except as provided in subsection (2) of this section.
(2) A city, county, urban-county, or charter county government may regulate the sounding of train whistles at night if the city, county, urban-county, or charter county government enacts an ordinance adopting the provisions of Emergency Order Number 15, Notice Number 4, issued by the Federal Railroad Administration on August 31, 1993. If the Federal Railroad Administration updates the requirements of Emergency Order 15, a city, county, urban-county, or charter county government that has adopted the provisions of Emergency Order 15 shall by ordinance adopt the most recent federal requirements governing the sounding of train whistles.
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 277.190
Warning Devices- Active
State Laws and Regulations
189.562 Duty of railroad company when warning device incorrectly remains activated
If a warning device at a grade crossing is activated, for a period of thirty (30) minutes or more, in the absence of an approaching train, due to track maintenance or train movements in the vicinity, and the railroad company responsible is unable to disengage the warning device, then the company shall position a flagman at the affected intersection.
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 189.562
189.561 Investigation of certain public grade crossings not equipped with gates; results; costs
(1) The cabinet shall investigate any public grade crossing not equipped with gates, with an average daily traffic of four thousand (4,000) or more, at which two (2) or more accidents involving a train and a vehicle traversing the crossing of a railroad and a highway have occurred in a consecutive five (5) year period, beginning January 1, 1986. The cabinet shall not consider nonfatal accidents caused by mechanical failure of the motor vehicle; accidents in which the operator of the highway motor vehicle was in violation of the provisions of KRS Chapter 189A; or other nonwarning signal related cause as set forth by the cabinet in an administrative regulation. If the cabinet installed active warning devices under its normal crossing safety improvement program since January 1, 1986, the five (5) year period for the determination of accidents shall begin at the time of this installation. The cabinet shall request written comments from the affected local government prior to reaching a decision on a particular crossing. After receiving a report from the affected local government supporting the installation of gates, the cabinet, utilizing matching funds available from the Federal Highway Administration’s rail/highway grade crossing safety program, shall program the installation of gates at the crossing. Locations which do not receive a favorable report from the affected local government shall be reconsidered at the time of the next update of the five (5) year accident period.
(2) The cost of installing gates shall be the responsibility of the cabinet and railroad in accordance with KRS 277.065 and shall not be charged to any unit of local government.
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 189.561
State Laws and Regulations
No applicable statute relating to this topic.
State Laws, Regulations, and Penalties
No applicable statute related to this topic.