BALTIMORE – A new series of Railroad Grade Crossing (RRGC) rules are going into effect in October of next year that will inflict harsher fines on truck drivers that disobey them as well as the fleets that employ them.

Kevin Lewis, CDL safety director for the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrations, gave a speech outlining the new RRGC code to fleets attending the American Moving & Storage Assn.’s annual safety meeting this week.

Lewis said that the critical part of the new RRGC code, which goes into effect October 2, 2002, is that fleets will be fined substantial penalties if their drivers are not disqualified under the new rules – even if the fleet doesn’t know that their drivers have committed an RRGC infraction.

"It does not matter whether the fleet knows about the infraction or not," he said. "They will be fined $10,000 if they do not follow the RRGC code’s penalties for drivers that disobey the new rules."

Driver violations under the new RRGC code cover a range of failure to stop and failure to slow down citations but also one that penalizes a driver who fails to negotiate a crossing because of insufficient undercarriage clearance.

Fleets must disqualify a driver cited with an RRGC violation from operating a vehicle for 60 days for the first violation, 120 days for the second, and 365 for the third. If a fleet does not disqualify a driver ticketed with an RRGC violation – even if they do not know about it – it will be fined $10,000, said Lewis.