Starting Sunday, January 1, 2017, the penalties doubled for those who try to cross railroad tracks after the grade crossing systems have activated.
Fines for drivers who disregard activated railroad gates and warning lights have increased from $250 to $500 for a first offense and from $500 to $1,000 for a second or subsequent offense.
Illinois, which ranked second in the nation in 2015 for highway-rail fatalities, now has some of the strictest penalties in the nation for these types of vehicular offenses. Nearly 75 to 80 percent of vehicle/train collisions occur at crossings with active warning devices, including lights, gates and bells, according to Illinois Operation Lifesaver. Be safe, obey railroad crossing signals.