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If you've ever sat in traffic at a railroad crossing because the train was stopped on the tracks, you know why we're asking the question... 'How long can a train legally stop in Louisiana?'

I don't know about you, but I always get held up by a train when I'm already running late. It never fails. Murphy's Law, right? It's especially frustrating when you can't turn around and find another route. So, if you've ever encountered something like you can see in this Facebook post, you know where we're coming from.



How long can a train legally stop in Louisiana?

According to Louisiana State Law, TITLE 48 — Roads, bridges, and ferries, RS 48:391 — Obstruction of railroad grade crossings, the law states:

§391. Obstruction of railroad grade crossings

A.(1) It shall be unlawful for any train, railroad car or equipment, or engine to obstruct vehicular traffic at a public highway railroad grade crossing for a period in excess of twenty consecutive minutes, except when such train, railroad car or equipment, or engine is moving or when such movement is prevented by any of the following:

(a) A power brake failure or other mechanical failure.

(b) Enforcement of the Hours of Service Act.

(c) Derailment or other accident.

(d) A directive of the Federal Railway Administration.

(e) Circumstances over which the railroad company or carrier has no reasonable control, such as a natural disaster or acts of third parties.

Boom! So, if a motorist waits an hour at a train crossing in Louisiana, we have a problem, and that is when fines start being levied. If you continue reading through the statute, it actually lists the fines by the amount of time the intersection in question is being blocked.

(3) Any rail carrier violating the provisions of Paragraph (1) of this Subsection shall be fined as follows:

(a) If the duration of the obstruction is in excess of twenty minutes, but not longer than twenty-five minutes, the fine shall be not less than two hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars.

(b) If the duration of the obstruction is in excess of twenty-five minutes, but not longer than thirty minutes, the fine shall be five hundred dollars.

(c) If the duration of the obstruction is in excess of thirty minutes, but not longer than thirty-five minutes, the fine shall be seven hundred dollars.

(d) If the duration of the obstruction is in excess of thirty-five minutes, but not longer than forty minutes, the fine shall be nine hundred dollars.

(e) If the duration of the obstruction is in excess of forty minutes, but not longer than forty-five minutes, the fine shall be one thousand dollars.

(f) If the duration of the obstruction is in excess of forty-five minutes, the fine shall be one thousand dollars plus an additional five hundred dollars for each five minutes of obstruction in excess of forty-five minutes. However, the maximum fine shall not exceed five thousand dollars for an obstruction which occurs within a twenty-four hour period.

As you can tell, those fines can add up fast. Of course, there's a bunch more legalese, but you get the picture. So next time you're sitting there waiting for that nice train to start moving again, just start counting up the fines!

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