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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.362

Introduced by Representatives Aswad of Burlington, Atkins of Winooski, Audette of S. Burlington, Bissonnette of Winooski, Branagan of Georgia, Condon of Colchester, Consejo of Sheldon, Corcoran of Bennington, Fitzgerald of St. Albans City, Howard of Rutland City, Keogh of Burlington, Kitzmiller of Montpelier, Kupersmith of S. Burlington, Marek of Newfane, Masland of Thetford, Minter of Waterbury, Otterman of Topsham and Sharpe of Bristol

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject: Transportation; railroads; “Railroad Vandalism Prevention Act”

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to prevent acts of vandalism to railroad property which affect the health, safety, and welfare of the traveling public, the neighboring community, and railroad employees; to protect railroad property and freight in transportation by railroad; and otherwise to enhance the safety of transportation by railroad.

AN ACT RELATING TO RAILROAD VANDALISM PREVENTION

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:


Sec. 1.  5 V.S.A. § 3734a is added to read:

§ 3734a.  RAILROAD VANDALISM PREVENTION

(a)  Short title.  This act may be cited as the “Railroad Vandalism Prevention Act.”

(b)  Purpose.  The purpose of this act is to prevent acts of vandalism to railroad property which affect the health, safety, and welfare of the traveling public, the neighboring community, and railroad employees; to protect railroad property and freight in transportation by railroad; and otherwise to enhance the safety of transportation by railroad.

(c)  Definitions.  For purposes of this section:

(1)  “Bodily injury” means:

(A)  a cut, abrasion, bruise, burn, or disfigurement;

(B)  physical pain;

(C)  illness;

(D)  impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty; or

(E)  any other injury to the body, no matter how temporary.

(2)  “Railroad” means any form of non-highway ground transportation that runs on rails or electromagnetic guideways, including:

(A)  commuter or other short-haul railroad passenger service in a  metropolitan or suburban area; and

(B)  high-speed ground transportation systems that connect metropolitan areas, but does not include rapid transit operations in an urban area that are not connected to the general railroad system of transportation.

(3)  “Railroad carrier” means a person providing railroad transportation.

(4)  “Railroad property” means all property owned, leased, or operated by a railroad carrier, including a right-of-way, track, bridge, yard, shop, station, tunnel, viaduct, trestle, depot, warehouse, terminal, railroad signal system, train control system, centralized dispatching system, or any other structure, appurtenance, or equipment owned, leased, or used in the operation of any railroad carrier, including a train, locomotive, engine, railroad car, work equipment, rolling stock, or safety device.  “Railroad property” does not include administrative buildings, administrative offices, or administrative office equipment.

(5)  “Right-of-way” means the track or roadbed owned, leased, or operated by a railroad carrier which is located on either side of its tracks and which is readily recognizable to a reasonable person as being railroad property or is reasonably identified as such by fencing or appropriate signs.

(6)  “Serious bodily injury” means bodily injury which involves:

(A)  a substantial risk of death;

(B)  extreme physical pain;

(C)  protracted and obvious disfigurement; or

(D)  protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.

(7)  “Yard” means a system of parallel tracks, crossovers, and switches where railroad cars are switched and made up into trains, and where railroad cars, locomotives, and other rolling stock are kept when not in use or when awaiting repairs.

(d)  Vandalism of railroad property.  Whoever, with reckless disregard for railroad property or the safety of another commits an act which may cause damage to railroad property, or bodily injury to another by an act, including, but not limited to the following, shall be guilty of the offense of railroad vandalism:

(1)  Placing a small object, such as a coin, token, bottle cap, bottle, or can, on a railroad track or rail.

(2)  Dropping or throwing an object at a locomotive, rail car or train,  such as an egg or a water balloon, paint, or an opaque substance on a locomotive or train.

(3)  Taking, removing, defacing, altering, marking with graffiti, or otherwise vandalizing a locomotive, rail car, train, railroad sign, placard, or marker.

(4)  Throwing a rock, baseball, or other object at a locomotive, railroad car, or train.

(5)  Dropping a brick or other object from a bridge or other overpass onto a railroad right-of-way.

(6)  Shooting a firearm or using any other weapon that propels an object or agent, including but not limited to, a paint ball gun, slingshot, or other device at a locomotive, rail car, or train.

(7)  Removing appurtenances from, damaging, or otherwise impairing the operation of any railroad signal system, including a train control system, centralized dispatching system, or highway-railroad grade crossing warning signal on a railroad owned, leased, or operated by any railroad carrier, without consent of the railroad carrier involved.

(8)  Interfering or tampering with, or obstructing in any way, any switch, frog, rail, roadbed, cross tie, viaduct, bridge, trestle, culvert, embankment, structure, or appliance pertaining to or connected with any railroad carrier, without consent of the railroad carrier involved.

(9)  Taking, stealing, removing, changing, adding to, altering, or in any manner interfering with any journal bearing, brass, waste, packing, triple valve, pressure cock, brake, air hose, or any other part of the operating mechanism of any locomotive, engine, tender, coach, car, caboose, or motor car used or capable of being used by any railroad carrier in this state without consent of the railroad carrier.


(e)  Penalty. 

(1)  If railroad property damage does not exceed $500.00 and no bodily injury occurs to another as a result of any of the acts referred to in subsection (d) of this section, the person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction of such act, the person shall be subject to paying the railroad carrier involved the cost of repair to any railroad property damaged, and to perform community service for not more than 120 hours, if community service is available in the jurisdiction where the offense was committed.  If community service is not available in the jurisdiction where the offense was committed, the person shall be subject to paying the railroad carrier involved the cost to repair any railroad property damaged, and be fined not more than $500.00 or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.  

(2)  If railroad property damage exceeds $500.00 or bodily injury occurs to another as a result of any of the acts referred to in subsection (d) of this section, the person shall be guilty of a felony.  Upon conviction of such act, the person may be subject to paying the railroad carrier involved for the cost of repair to any railroad property damaged, and shall be fined not more than $10,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.  

(3)  If serious bodily injury or death occurs to another as a result of any of the acts referred to in subsection (d) of this section, the person shall be guilty of a felony.  Upon conviction of such act, the person may be subject to paying the railroad carrier involved the cost of repair to any railroad property damaged, and shall be fined not more than $20,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than 20 years or both.

(f)  Intent to damage railroad property or to endanger the safety of another.

Whoever willfully damages or attempts to damage railroad property or willfully endangers or attempts to endanger the safety of another by an act, including, but not limited to the following, shall be guilty of the offense of aggravated railroad vandalism:

(1)  Taking, removing, defacing, altering, or otherwise vandalizing a railroad sign, placard, or marker.

(2)  Throwing a rock, baseball, or other object at a locomotive, railroad car, or train.

(3)  Dropping a brick or other object from a bridge or other overpass onto a railroad right-of-way.

(4)  Shooting a firearm or other weapon at a locomotive, railroad car, or train.

(5)  Removing appurtenances from, damaging, or otherwise impairing the operation of any railroad signal system, including a train control system, centralized dispatching system, or highway-railroad grade crossing warning signal, on a railroad owned, leased, or operated by any railroad carrier, and without consent of the railroad carrier involved.

(6)  Interfering or tampering with, or obstructing in any way, any switch, frog, rail, roadbed, sleeper, viaduct, bridge, trestle, culvert, embankment, structure, or appliance pertaining to or connected with any railroad carrier without consent of the railroad carrier involved.

(7)  Taking, stealing, removing, changing, adding to, altering, or in any manner interfering with any journal bearing, brass, waste, packing, triple valve, pressure cock, brake, air hose, or any other part of the operating mechanism of any locomotive, engine, tender, coach, car, caboose, or motor car used or capable of being used by any railroad carrier in this state without consent of the railroad carrier.

(g)  Penalty for aggravated railroad vandalism.  

(1)  If railroad property damage does not exceed $500.00 and no bodily injury occurs to another as a result of any of the acts referred to in subsection (f) of this section, upon conviction of such act, the person shall be subject to paying the railroad carrier involved the cost to repair any railroad property damaged, and shall be fined not more than $10,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.  

(2)  If railroad property damage exceeds $500.00 or bodily injury occurs to another as a result of any of the acts referred to in subsection (f) of this section, upon conviction of such act, the person may be subject to paying the railroad carrier involved the cost to repair any railroad property damaged, and shall be fined not more than $20,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both. 

(3)  If serious bodily injury occurs to another as a result of any of the acts referred to in subsection (f) of this section, upon conviction of such act, the person may be subject to paying the railroad carrier involved the cost to repair any railroad property damaged, and shall be fined not more than $25,000.00 or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both.  

(4)  If death occurs to another as a result of any of the  acts referred to in subsection (f) of this section, upon conviction of such act, the person may be subject to paying the railroad carrier involved for the cost to repair any railroad property damaged, and shall be fined not more than $100,000.00 or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both.

(h)  Theft of railroad freight.  Whoever willfully and with intent to permanently deprive the owner of railroad freight takes or removes railroad freight from any freight car, including a boxcar, container, or flatbed, shall be guilty of a felony.  Upon conviction of such act, the person shall be fined not more than $5,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.

(i)  Receiving stolen railroad freight.  Whoever buys or receives any of the railroad freight described in subsection (h) of this section, having reason to know that this freight has been stolen, shall be guilty of a felony.  Upon conviction of such act, the person shall be fined not more than $5,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us