Ohio Supreme Court rules against state law prohibiting stopped trains from blocking crossings

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 2:41 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WXIX) - The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that federal law prevents the state from enforcing a law against trains that block railroad crossings for more than five minutes.

Justice Sharon L. Kennedy wrote that federal law does allow states to regulate some aspects of railroad safety but Ohio’s law does not address making train operations safer.

The federal government has also preempted state laws that regulate the time trains may stop on the tracks, Justice Kennedy stated in the Court’s lead opinion.

The Court ruled that the Marysville Municipal Court properly dismissed five charges against CSX Transportation, Inc. for violating the state law, according to Ohio Supreme Court documents.

In their majority opinion, the justices encouraged state lawmakers to resolve the potential safety hazard in a way that will align with federal law.

State Rep. Thomas Hall (R-Madison Township) says he’s disappointed in the Court’s decision.

“Emergency vehicles being unable to reach the locations of their calls is unacceptable. This is an issue about safety for families in Butler County and beyond that needs to be addressed,” Hall wrote in a statement.

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