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Ohio drivers could be forced to stop at all rail crossings

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(The Center Square) – Ohio drivers could soon be forced to stop at all railroad crossings or face misdemeanor charges.

House Bill 372 passed the House on Wednesday, and a companion bill passed the Senate. If the two are reconciled, Gov. Mike DeWine’s signature will be all that will be needed to force motorists to stop, look, and listen for on-track equipment when approaching railroad crossings.

Currently, drivers only have to stop if there is a stop sign.

“This bill provides a common-sense, widely supported, solution that will raise needed awareness,” said Rep. Michele Grim, D-Toledo. “Over 30 states have already passed similar regulations. HB372 gives drivers the opportunity to learn more about safer driving practices and avoid a potentially fatal accident in the future. I am thrilled by the support from my fellow House colleagues.”

The penalty for not stopping would be a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

However, offenders could attend remedial safety training provided by an organization of the court’s choosing to avoid a fine or jail term.

The training must be completed in a certain amount of time but cannot exceed 180 days after the training is ordered.

Once the remedial safety training has been completed the court would waive any associated fine or jail term.

House Bill 372 moves to the Senate for further hearings.

The Senate also passed several pieces of legislation Wednesday, including a bill that would make a series of changes to driver’s license suspension penalties.

Senate Bill 37 would make it easier for suspended drivers to get their license back and reduce the number of ways a driver could lose their license – such as drug offenses, school truancy or court fines.

“We cannot hold people hostage financially by requiring them to pay hundreds of dollars to reinstate their license for charges that don’t relate to driving at all,” said Sen. Catherine Ingram, D-Cincinnati. “We have to support the people of Ohio and help them get back in their cars, back on the road, and back to work.”

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