Stopping on tracks could cost you big

At Stewart Avenue and Highway 99, at the railroad crossing, there's a sign that says, "Do Not Stop On Tracks." I assume, since it's in black and white, it must be a law and not a suggestion. What would the fine be if a cop caught you — assuming a train didn't get you first?

— Tom C. Eagle Point

We feel the need to bust loose with a song from childhood, Tom. Goes a little something like this — "A peanut sat on a railroad track, his heart was all a flutter. Along came the 6:15. Chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga! Toot! Toot! Peanut butter!"

OK. Back to business. In seeking an answer to your query, we called upon Medford police officer Phil Steigleder.

Steigleder says you are correct. That sign is not a suggestion. It is a law. ORS 811.495 forbids the obstruction of railroad crossings, he said.

People can't block trains or other vehicles, Steigleder said. If they do, it's a Class B traffic infraction, with a fine of $242, he said.

"If it involves an accident, the fine is $278," Steigleder said.

Commercial vehicles and school busses must stop before the tracks, he added.

Steigleder said he'd seen a story on "Fox News" about an allegedly inebriated driver of a Ferrari who called 9-1-1 after his car got stuck on the tracks. He said the driver bailed just before a train obliterated his Italian dream machine.

This sounds like a worthy YouTube search to us, Tom. Let us know if you find something good.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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