SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A measure passed by state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, that will address the lack of federal railroad safety regulations by establishing a mandatory crew size for freight trains on Illinois railroads recently became law.
“Currently, there are no laws on the books on the state or federal level to determine or regulate how many crew members are necessary to safely operate a freight train,” said Hoffman. “My legislation will address this huge public safety issue by requiring freight trains on our state railroads to have a minimum of two crew members.”
In 2014, then-President Obama launched a formal process which would have authorized the administration to implement rules and procedures requiring two member crews on all domestic freight traffic. In 2017, however, the Trump administration later struck down Obama-era efforts which sought to govern crew size.
Hoffman’s Senate Bill 24 is in response to lacking federal and state guidelines, coupled with rising concerns on the adequate number of crew members needed to operate freight trains in Illinois. Hoffman’s measure, which was recently signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, states that freight trains would be operated by a crew of at least two engineers and would remain effective until any future federal law were to overrule the legislation if it became law in Illinois. Additionally, it authorizes the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) the ability to intervene in the enforcement of crew size.
“This new law will ensure that our railways are as safe as possible for the public, engineers and other train crew members,” continued Hoffman. “I thank the governor for signing this legislation into law and addressing this public safety issue.”