With growing recognition of the dangers at-grade railroad crossings, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has increased the points assigned to motorists who violate the rules of the road at the nearly 2,700 railroad crossings around the state.
Now, two years after the deadly Metro-North train crash in Valhalla, New York, drivers will be on notice that every effort should be taken to ensure safety at roadway intersections with railroad tracks. For many years, motorists who disobeyed traffic laws at railroad crossings risked, other than their lives and those around them, a fine and a modest 3-point penalty on their license, the same value as for speeding 1 to 10 miles per hour above the speed limit.
The DMV has now increased the points for railroad crossing infractions to 5 points, to better reflect the seriousness of the risk people are taking when they do not behave lawfully while at these locations. News of the DMV’s action became clear at a legislative budget hearing yesterday when Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-Westchester) asked the Department’s Executive Deputy Commissioner, Theresa Egan, about the topic, and she reported that the change was put into place in August.