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HB 541 - Railroad crew requirements

HB 541 - Railroad crew requirements

Phil Haunschild
February 14, 2018

Bill description: HB 541 would require that at least two crewmembers are on every moving train.

Rating: -2

Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market? 

Any train moving across the state of Idaho would be required to maintain a crew of at least two individuals under HB 541. Locomotives would not have to meet this requirement if they are merely moving short distances, either in the trainyard moving railcars or when providing helper services by attaching to and supporting a locomotive on a major incline.

HB 541 would increase the regulatory burden on railroads by requiring the two-man crew. This burden would limit a railroad’s flexibility, such as when trains are travelling from a state without a two-man crew requirement and are required to put an extra crewmember on board just to travel in Idaho. Additionally, with the further development of technological developments (such as positive train control, which will automatically stop a train before accidents occur), the need for a crew will continue to decrease. As concerns railroad safety, a 2009 study by the Association of American Railroads found that the two-man requirement having two crewmembers on board does not increase safety.


Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non- violent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes? 

Railroads that fail to meet this requirement would be fined at least $1,000 for the first offense, and up to $5,000 for any subsequent offense within three years


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