Correct speed limit near railroad tracks

“Ask the DMV” Expert Answers to Common DMV Questions
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 Do you have questions about general driving related requirements like registration and insurance? Are you unclear about laws and restrictions related to driving? The California Department of Motor Vehicles has answers. Save Time. Go Online at    


Q: I am always confused about the speed limit when you are near a railroad track. If there is no train coming, can I go the speed limit when I cross the tracks?


A: The speed limit is 15 mph within 100 feet of a railroad crossing where you cannot see the tracks for 400 feet in both directions. You may drive faster than 15 mph if the crossing is controlled by gates, a warning signal or  a flagman and when it is a safe to do so.


Listed below are a few safety tips when crossing railroad tracks.


·         Look in both directions and listen for trains. Many crossings have multiple tracks, so be ready to stop before each crossing. Cross railroad tracks only at designated crossings and only when it is safe to do so.


·         Expect a train on any track at any time traveling either direction. If you need to stop after crossing the tracks, make sure your vehicle clears the tracks before you stop.


·         Never stop on the railroad tracks. Remember that a train cannot stop quickly or swerve out of the way. If you are on the tracks, you risk injury or death.


·         Watch for vehicles that must stop before crossing train tracks. These vehicles include buses, school buses and trucks transporting hazardous loads.


·         Remember that flashing red lights mean STOP! Stop at least 15 feet, but not more than 50 feet, from the nearest track when the crossing devices are active, or a person warns you a train is coming. Stop if you see a train coming or you hear the whistle, horn or bell of an approaching train.


·         Do not attempt to travel under lowering gates or around lowered gates. Flashing red lights indicate you must stop and wait. Do not proceed over the crossing until the red lights stop flashing, even if the gate rises. If the gates are lowered and you do not see a train approaching, call the posted railroad emergency toll free number or 911. Be ready to give a detailed description of your location.


For more information regarding railroad safety and driving visit



Q: What exactly is the Business Partnership Automation program (BPA)?


A: DMV has recently established an electronic BPA program that allows qualified industry partners to process vehicle related transactions from their remote locations. The participants are authorized to issue validated registration cards, annual stickers and license plates from their offices.

The BPA Program currently allows business partners to conduct the following transactions: obtain a new vehicle report of sales, annual registration renewals for automobile/commercial vehicles and motorcycles; substitute license plates and stickers, registered owner transfers; salvage applications; junk applications; non-repairable applications and vehicle license fee (VLF) refunds.

To find the location of a BPA partner, please visit



 Q: Can you give more information about the new laws that will be enforced for DUI offenders? 


A:  The Ignition Interlock Device law will took effect on July 1, 2010. Drivers convicted of a DUI are required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). The IID will be wired to a vehicle's ignition and requires a breath sample before the engine will start. If the IID detects alcohol on the driver's breath, the engine will not start. The car will start if alcohol is not detected. The IID also requires a periodic breath sample to ensure the continued absence of alcohol in the driver's system


The new law is being piloted in four counties: Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare. This pilot effort is used to assess the effectiveness of the IID.  Its objective is to reduce repeat driving under the influence violations. 


In addition, another law that took effect on July 1, 2010 allows for the early reinstatement of a driver license for the second and third convictions for DUI (alcohol related only.  Drivers with a second conviction can get their license reinstated after three months (instead of four), and drivers with a third conviction could reinstate after six months (instead of one year) providing that the IID is installed and all other requirements are met prior to installation of the IID.  This law is effective throughout the state. 


To learn more about the new laws, please visit,


The DMV is a department under the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, which is under the direction of Acting Undersecretary Brian Kelly. The DMV licenses drivers, maintains driving records, registers and tracks official ownership of vehicles and vessels, investigates auto and identity-related fraud, and licenses car dealers, driving schools, and traffic violator schools. For more information about the DMV, visit