2016 Florida Statutes
351.03 Railroad-highway grade-crossing warning signs and signals; audible warnings; exercise of reasonable care; blocking highways, roads, and streets during darkness.
351.034 Railroad-highway grade crossings to be cleared for emergency vehicles.
351.35 Railroad tracks and related equipment; safety rules; penalties.
351.36 Railroad safety inspections and inspectors.
351.37 Railroad safety.
351.03 Railroad-highway grade-crossing warning signs and signals; audible warnings; exercise of reasonable care; blocking highways, roads, and streets during darkness.—
(1) Every railroad company shall exercise reasonable care for the safety of motorists whenever its track crosses a highway and shall be responsible for erecting and maintaining crossbuck grade-crossing warning signs in accordance with the uniform system of traffic control devices adopted pursuant to s. 316.0745. Such crossbuck signs shall be erected and maintained at all public or private railroad-highway grade crossings.
(2) Advance railroad warning signs and pavement markings shall be installed and maintained at public railroad-highway grade crossings in accordance with the uniform system of traffic control devices by the governmental entity having jurisdiction over or maintenance responsibility for the highway or street. All persons approaching a railroad-highway grade crossing shall exercise reasonable care for their own safety and for the safety of railroad train crews as well as for the safety of train or vehicle passengers.
(3) Except as provided in subsection (4), any railroad train approaching within 1,500 feet of a public railroad-highway grade crossing shall emit a signal audible for such distance.
(4)(a) The Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration may authorize a municipality or county to implement a whistle ban provided the following conditions are met:
1. A traffic operations system is implemented to secure railroad-highway grade crossings for the purpose of preventing vehicles from going around, under, or through lowered railroad gates.
2. The municipality or county has in effect an ordinance that unconditionally prohibits the sounding of railroad train horns and whistles during the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. at all public railroad-highway grade crossings within the municipality or county and where the municipality, county, or state has erected signs at the crossing announcing that railroad train horns and whistles may not be sounded during such hours. Signs so erected shall be in conformance with the uniform system of traffic control devices as specified in s. 316.0745.
(b) Upon final approval and verification by the department and the Federal Railroad Administration that such traffic operations system meets all state and federal safety and traffic regulations and that such railroad-highway grade crossings can be secured, the municipality or county may pass an ordinance prohibiting the sounding of audible warning devices by trains upon approaching such railroad-highway grade crossings between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
(c) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to nullify the liability provisions of s. 768.28.
(5)(a) Whenever a railroad train engages in a switching operation or stops so as to block a public highway, street, or road at any time from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, the crew of the railroad train shall cause to be placed a lighted fusee or other visual warning device in both directions from the railroad train upon or at the edge of the pavement of the highway, street, or road to warn approaching motorists of the railroad train blocking the highway, street, or road. However, this subsection does not apply to railroad-highway grade crossings at which there are automatic warning devices properly functioning or at which there is adequate lighting.
(b) A person who violates any provision of paragraph (a) is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.—s. 34, ch. 1987, 1874; RS 2264; GS 2841; ch. 7940, 1919; RGS 4529; CGL 6592; s. 1, ch. 73-336; s. 52, ch. 76-31; s. 5, ch. 80-289; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 1, 12, 14, ch. 82-90; s. 1, ch. 84-73; s. 39, ch. 86-243; ss. 2, 5, 6, ch. 92-192; s. 143, ch. 99-13.
351.034 Railroad-highway grade crossings to be cleared for emergency vehicles.—Except for trains or equipment stopped due to mechanical failure where separation or movement is not possible, any train or equipment that has come to a complete stop and is blocking a railroad-highway grade crossing must be cut, separated, or moved to clear the crossing upon the approach of any emergency vehicle, which for the purpose of this law shall be:
(1) An ambulance operated by public authority or by private persons;
(2) A fire engine; or an emergency vehicle operated by power or electric companies; or
(3) Any other vehicle when operated as an emergency vehicle, defined as one which is engaged in the saving of life, property, or responding to any other public peril; or
(4) Emergency vehicles used as such by the Government of the United States; when upon the approach of such emergency vehicle, such vehicle gives due warning of its approach to such crossing by the sounding of sirens, flashing of lights, waving of flag, or any other warning sufficient to attract attention to such emergency vehicle; and thereupon the said train or equipment shall be cut and said crossing shall be cleared with all possible dispatch to permit the crossing and passing through of said emergency vehicle.
History.—s. 4, ch. 67-309; s. 5, ch. 80-289; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 12, 14, ch. 82-90; ss. 3, 5, 6, ch. 92-192; s. 58, ch. 95-143; s. 143, ch. 99-13.
351.35 Railroad tracks and related equipment; safety rules; penalties.—
(1) The Department of Transportation shall adopt rules requiring companies operating railroads wholly or in part in the state to maintain tracks and all supportive, related equipment, including locomotives and other rolling stock, of such railroad companies within the state in a safe condition.
(2) If any company operating a railroad either in whole or in part within the state fails to comply with any rule adopted by the department, such company shall thereby incur a penalty as provided for in applicable federal regulations.
History.—s. 2, ch. 78-88; s. 5, ch. 80-289; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 12, 14, ch. 82-90; s. 52, ch. 84-309; ss. 5, 6, ch. 92-192; s. 143, ch. 99-13.
351.36 Railroad safety inspections and inspectors.—
(1) The Department of Transportation shall employ competent safety inspectors to inspect the physical conditions of the tracks and all supportive, related equipment, including locomotives and other rolling stock, of any railroad operated wholly or in part in the state. Safety inspectors shall attain Federal Railroad Administration employment qualifications necessary to qualify the state for federal funds.
(2) The inspectors shall report in writing the results of their inspections in the manner and on forms prescribed by the department.
History.—s. 1, ch. 78-88; s. 5, ch. 80-289; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 12, 14, ch. 82-90; s. 53, ch. 84-309; ss. 5, 6, ch. 92-192; s. 143, ch. 99-13.
351.37 Railroad safety.—The state shall supplement and not replace the responsibility of the Federal Government in the inspection of physical conditions of railroad facilities within the state to ascertain compliance with federal standards and regulations. Because this is a supplementary program, the state shall not be deemed to be liable for any actions or omissions in inspecting or failing to inspect railroad facilities. The provisions of this act replace all other provisions in the Florida Statutes relating to jurisdiction over railroad safety.
History.—s. 3, ch. 78-88; s. 5, ch. 80-289; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 12, 14, ch. 82-90; s. 54, ch. 84-309; ss. 5, 6, ch. 92-192; s. 143, ch. 99-13.