327G.32 BLOCKING HIGHWAY CROSSING. A railroad corporation or its employees shall not operate a train in such a manner as to prevent vehicular use of a highway, street, or alley for a period of time in excess of ten minutes except in any of the following circumstances: 1. When necessary to comply with signals affecting the safety of the movement of trains. 2. When necessary to avoid striking an object or person on the track. 3. When the train is disabled. 4. When necessary to comply with governmental safety regulations including, but not limited to speed ordinances and speed regulations. An officer or employee of a railroad corporation violating a provision of this section is, upon conviction, subject to the penalty provided in section 327G.14. An employee is not guilty of a violation if the employee's action was necessary to comply with the direct order or instructions of a railroad corporation or its supervisors. Guilt is then with the railroad corporation. Other portions of this section notwithstanding, a political subdivision may pass an ordinance regulating the length of time a specific crossing may be blocked if the political subdivision demonstrates that an ordinance is necessary for public safety or convenience. If an ordinance is passed, the political subdivision shall, within thirty days of the effective date of the ordinance, notify the department and the railroad corporation using the crossing affected by the ordinance. The ordinance does not become effective unless the department and the railroad corporation are notified within thirty days. The ordinance becomes effective thirty days after notification unless a person files an objection to the ordinance with the department. If an objection is filed the department shall notify the department of inspections and appeals which shall hold a hearing. After a hearing by the department of inspections and appeals, the state department of transportation may disapprove the ordinance if public safety or convenience does not require the ordinance. The decision of the state department of transportation is final agency action. The ordinance approved by the political subdivision is prima facie evidence that the ordinance is adopted to preserve public safety or convenience. The department of inspections and appeals when considering rebuttal evidence shall weigh the benefits accruing to the political subdivision as they affect the general public use compared to the burden placed on the railroad operation. Public safety or convenience may include, but is not limited to, high traffic density at a specific crossing of a main artery or interference with the flow of authorized emergency vehicles. A resolution regulating the length of time a specific crossing may be blocked, which was adopted before July 1, 1989, is an ordinance for the purposes of this section.
Section History: Early Form
[C77, 79, 81, § 327G.32; 81 Acts, ch 22, § 20, 22]
Section History: Recent Form
85 Acts, ch 195, § 39; 89 Acts, ch 39, § 4, 5; 89 Acts ch 273, § 37