Some South Carolina legislators have been concerned about proper signage at railroad crossings after a Sumter teen was killed at one a few years ago. The House passed a bill Tuesday that would try to improve the state’s most dangerous crossings. Rep. Joseph Daning (R-Berkeley) explained what the bill, called “John’s Law,” does.
It requires the (SC Department of Transportation) to publish on their website the top 16 (most dangerous) railroad crossings in the state, and those are the ones they will repair each year.
The state only installs gates at about 20 crossings per year.
There were no crossing arms at Lyman Road in Sumter County, where the bill’s 16-year-old namesake John Brabham III died in 2009 after his car was hit by a train. That crossing also had heavy brush that made it hard for drivers to see without pulling up to the tracks.
Rep. Murrell Smith (R-Sumter) sponsored legislation the year after the accident, but it never got out of committee.
More than 50 collisions between trains and cars occurred in South Carolina last year. Half of the crossings involved did not have gates, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. However, many of the cars in those accidents had an intoxicated driver or were parked illegally on the tracks.
— Legislators also finished a bill that would allow South Carolina to join an interstate wildlife compact. Since it has now passed both the House and Senate, the legislation heads for the governor’s desk once it is ratified.
— A bill that would change parts of Act 388, specifically a controversial “point of sale” provision, heads to the House floor after the Ways & Means Committee passed it by voice vote Tuesday.