Re: Trains hitting police cars..... Your repressed troll Nancy at work.....
Author: Dr Zarkoff
Date: 06-23-2022 - 18:39
> If you hit a cop car it would be a misdemeanor committed in the presence of the affected officer, so any arrest would be perfectly legal.
Au contraire, if the the cop car occupied the crossing after the devices had started functioning, and a train hit it, the train and its crew would be entirely blameless, period. It's based on the principles of physics: the train usually can't stop in time, which is also related to ordinary, "run-of-the-mill" grade crossing accidents. For similar reasons, no matter how slowly you drive your car, I can always arrange to have you run over my foot. Arresting any of the crew in this sort of situation leaves the door wide open to false arrest suits against the local jursidiction (which includes the CHP, BTW).
> Of course there would have to be a crime involved and since there is none committed by the train crew, no police officer anywhere would make such a nonsensical arrest. I have never heard of a police officer "trying this stunt",
As a retired BLE Legislative Representative, I can tell you that "the stunt" would happen often enough that in the latter 1980s, the PUC started a program of visiting local jurisidictions to instruct them on the proper behavior (a friend of mine ran the program). It's also illegal, nationwide, for a peace officer to ask for an engineer's driver's license as identification in railroad-related accidents, a practise which started in Kentucky in the mid-1980s.
> but I have heard of occasional citations issued for blocking intersections,
I presume by "intersections" you mean "public grade crossings". This is a different kettle of fish, and the rule, essentially nationwide because of the FRA's 1990s era preemption of regulations relating to crossings, is that a crossing can be blocked for not more than minutes unless the train is having mechanical problems (and is unable to be moved no matter how much the crew would like to).
> almost always in locations where there have been long-going, frequent complaints and lack of cooperation by the railroad with the local jurisdiction involved.
There are two levels of "cooperation": by the crews, who for the most part don't want to block the crossings; and by management, who've essentially demonstrated their indifference to the situation by cutting train crew manning to the bone, running trains which are too long, and then when the tracks back up, stranding the crews until they die on the law (yet remain sitting on the train). There have been improvements since about 2005, when the operating unions presented data amounting to 20,000 cumulative hours of crews being stranded on trains, "dead on the law", a over the previous 5-10 year period of time, but the situation will never be perfect.