Jackson seeks legislative path to help Indiana’s first responders

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Carolyn B. Jackson (D-Hammond) has filed legislation that will both improve railroad crossing safety and help first responders when they have to deal with crises like traffic accidents and fires.

Jackson has authored House Bill 1090, which would require railroad companies to inform local public safety agencies whenever a train is in the area and crossings may be blocked.

“I consider this a common sense measure that will help our police and fire and EMTs respond to calls for help,” Jackson said. “The railroad would be responsible for contacting local agencies and letting them know that a train is going through the area, and there might be crossings that could be blocked.”

Jackson filed the proposal in response to concerns expressed by Lake County police and firefighters, who indicated that delays caused by trains happen every day. Since the bill was filed, the lawmaker has heard similar concerns from safety officials in Marion County, where as many as 25 trains pass through various crossings on the east side of Indianapolis each day.

“If they know that a crossing is blocked or will be blocked, police, fire, and EMTs can be ready and seek out alternative routes,” Jackson said. “When it comes to a serious traffic accident or a house on fire, literally every minute counts. My legislation can help get them extra time they need.”

If the bill becomes law, railroad companies that violate its provisions could be fined for failure to notify.

House Bill 1090 has been assigned to the House Roads and Transportation Committee. No hearing has been scheduled.

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