TRENTON, N.J. – Today the Assembly voted unanimously to advance a bill (A4958) sponsored by Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce that would require railroads to remove obstructive vegetation at intersections with public roads.
“This bill will help expedite the removal of overgrown plants and trees at dangerous railroad crossings,” said DeCroce (R-Morris). “Conductors and drivers need to be able to see clearly to prevent accidents.”
Under the bill, railroads need to remove obstructive vegetation within 15 days following written notice from the Department of Transportation or the governing body of the municipality with jurisdiction over the intersection. After that time, the Department of Transportation can remove the vegetation and be reimbursed for the costs by the railroad within 30 days.
There are about 5,800 train-car crashes each year in this country, most of which occur at railroad crossings, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Unprotected railroad crossings, defective warning lights, train operator error and obstructed views of crossings due overgrown vegetation contribute to these accidents.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously in May.