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Reckless operation of a motor vehicle?

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  • Reckless operation of a motor vehicle?

    This question is actually for a fictional story I'm discussing in "Writer's Block", but as it is a general traffic question I wanted to put it here. Let's presume that a vehicle attempts to race a train to a crossing but, at the last second, thinks better of it, slams on the brakes, and stops just shy of the tracks. There is no other vehicular traffic (other than the train, of course) on the road which is endangered. Has an offense been committed and, if so, what would it be? If it matters, the jurisdiction is Texas.

  • #2
    From what you are describing here, just a simple speeding charge would fit, unless you are looking for more serious violations, so consider these:

    Sec. 545.401. RECKLESS DRIVING; OFFENSE. (a) A person commits an offense if the person drives a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.

    Or..........

    Sec. 545.251. OBEDIENCE TO SIGNAL INDICATING APPROACH OF TRAIN. (a) An operator approaching a railroad grade crossing shall stop not closer than 15 feet or farther than 50 feet from the nearest rail if:

    (1) a clearly visible railroad signal warns of the approach of a railroad train;

    (2) a crossing gate is lowered, or a flagger warns of the approach or passage of a train;

    (3) a railroad engine approaching within approximately 1,500 feet of the highway crossing emits a signal audible from that distance and the engine is an immediate hazard because of its speed or proximity to the crossing;

    (4) an approaching railroad train is plainly visible to the operator and is in hazardous proximity to the crossing.

    I actually worked a fatal crash where a lady had to cross a railroad track every morning to get to her job and for some reason, she coasted right past the red flashing signals, realized her mistake and stomped on the brakes........ only to be hit in the right front quarter-panel and dragged over 300 yards before the train could come to a halt.
    If your biggest work-related fear is getting a paper cut, don't try and tell a cop how to do his job.

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    • #3
      I can't think of a violation.
      Judge me by the enemies I have made----Unknown

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      • #4
        Originally posted by delzo70 View Post
        From what you are describing here, just a simple speeding charge would fit, unless you are looking for more serious violations, so consider these:
        In the story, the setup is that a railroad special agent is on foot at a crossing (tending to other activities) when he observes the unsafe driving and the van skidding to a stop at the last second. He's relieved because he was afraid that he was about to have to call in an ambulance...or the coroner...as the train was doing about forty miles an hour. I'm writing that he's thinking to himself I could still write them a citation for [what I'm asking about], but I'm going to let it go. Until he notices that the occupants of the van match the descriptions of wanted suspects....

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        • #5
          How fast was the train going and what time did it leave the station?
          Now go home and get your shine box!

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          • #6
            For Georgia:

            *Reckless Driving

            *Obedience to Signal Indicating Approach of Train



            Use some of these terms and search the web for Texas laws.

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            • #7
              If the occupants match a BOL, then that’s all he needs to detain and investigate. His attention was due to the screeching tires.
              Now go home and get your shine box!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
                If the occupants match a BOL, then that’s all he needs to detain and investigate. His attention was due to the screeching tires.
                Thanks. Actually, at this point in the story I just want to have the special agent have sufficient justification to call local LE and have the van followed; the driver and passenger will ditch it in a nearby residential area and escape on foot but drugs will be found in the van.

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                • #9
                  That’s all you need. BOL is enough to get stopped. The driving? Just icing on the cake. Have your SA tell the cops what he saw and heard, then about the BOL match.

                  You do know that the RR SA has full Police Powers, right? He can do all your cops can.
                  Now go home and get your shine box!

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                  • PeteBroccolo
                    PeteBroccolo commented
                    Editing a comment
                    CN Rail PS and CP Rail PS have full Criminal Code Peace Officer authority within a .5 mile of their property all across Canada, and have full Provincial Police authority throughout Saskatchewan (not sure of other Canadian Provinces), so, up here, these members could stop, check, and charge, such a "client" as required.

                • #10
                  Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
                  That’s all you need. BOL is enough to get stopped. The driving? Just icing on the cake. Have your SA tell the cops what he saw and heard, then about the BOL match.

                  You do know that the RR SA has full Police Powers, right? He can do all your cops can.
                  I do understand, and that will come into play later in the story.

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                  • #11
                    I don't believe at least not in Pa., that there has to be ANY other vehicular or pedestrian traffic in the area in order to write someone up for reckless diving The statute only describes the manner in which the operator is driving.

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                    • #12
                      The way that I eventually wrote the story up was that when the driver screeched to a stop just clear of the crossing arms he was over the white line, and that the SA could have written him a citation (unspecified) but let it go. Until he recognized the occupants as suspects from his earlier encounter.

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