Thankfully, there was a little store right there with a payphone (remember those?), so I was able to call the police and get any oncoming trains stopped. Out comes a South Carolina Sheriff's Deputy and he chewed me out quite a bit before proceeding to write that ticket. He pointed out to me that the reason for the no left turn sign was the high grade of the track. Turned out there were no trains scheduled to come through and a tow truck came out and got me off the track. It was a very embarrassing afternoon! The situation could have been a lot worse though, we all need to be aware at railroad crossings. These days, the penalties for DOT regulated drivers are much more severe for railroad crossing violations and your CDL will be at risk. See the current info from the FMCSA website below. If I remember correctly, my ticket cost me about $60.00, but in 1983, that wasn’t cheap.
- 60 days for a first offense
- 120 days for the second offense in a 3-year period, and Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook—Revised Second Edition
- 1 year for a third offense in a 3-year period.