New train law in Oklahoma fines railroad companies for stopping traffic for long time frame

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OKLAHOMA —

Waiting on a stopped train for long periods of time is a source of frustration for many, but that could soon change in the sooner state.

Starting July 1st, railroad companies can be fined $1,000 for being stopped for more than 10 minutes. This week Oklahoma’s Corporate Commission voted on the guidelines to be put in place.

Oklahoma officials say stopped trains can cause public safety issues, in addition to it being troublesome for many citizens. If an ambulance, fire truck, or police officer needs to get to the other side of the tracks it could make a difference between life or death. There are exceptions for companies not getting fined including derailment or being blocked. 75 percent of funds from the money fined to the companies will go to the law enforcement agency issuing the citation. The other 25 percent will go to Oklahoma’s Corporation Commission. Even though these regulations will soon be enforced, legislators don’t want to take away the importance of the railroad industry.

“Railroads certainly have a vital function in the entire economic picture of economic development. They serve a very vital function. It is the cheapest way to move a lot of product.”

State Rep. Ben Loring, Oklahoma District 7

The state is asking citizens who encounter problems over the 10 minute wait time to contact their local law enforcement agency. Officers may not be able to issue a citation immediately, but the companies will be made aware.

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