Ohio members: Support is needed for state’s rail safety bill

February 20, 2023

Ohio members are urged to express their support for H.B. 23, a rail-safety bill that covers two-person crews, requires documentation of blocked crossing incidents and requires state-supervised oversight to ensure the proper operation of wayside defect detectors.

In-person testimony before the Ohio House Finance Committee will occur 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the Ohio Statehouse and written testimony also is encouraged to be submitted by members who cannot be there in person. The meeting will take place in Room 313.

The bill:

  • Requires a two-person crew on a train.
  • Requires that the Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) and state Department of Transportation (Ohio DOT) work with railroad companies operating in the state to ensure that wayside detector systems are operational, effective and meets current standards.
  • Demands that railroads submit incident reports to PUCO for every instance when a carrier blocks a rail crossing for a duration of more than five minutes.

To submit comments, members in the state are encouraged to fill out the witness form linked below and send it, along with their written comments on the bill via email to Ohio State Legislative Director Clyde Whitaker (smartunionoslbmedia@gmail.com).

“We have an urgent need for people in Ohio to share their testimony about why H.B. 23 is necessary,” Whitaker said. “With the increased attention to rail safety, the time is now to get this legislation passed.”

Download the witness form. (Fillable PDF)

Read the bill.