- Associated Press - Sunday, July 31, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Disregarding railroad crossing lights will come with a heftier fine under a new Illinois law.

The legislation signed into law last week by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner will double the fines currently in the books. A first offense will cost $500 and each offense after that will be punishable with a $1,000 fine.

The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald reports (https://bit.ly/2aEJqTS ) that 24 people died and 79 others were injured in Illinois last year because of motorists ignoring railroad crossing signals. The data comes from the Federal Railroad Administration.

Republican state Sen. Karen McConnaughay, one of the legislation’s sponsors, says Illinois was second in the country last year for fatalities at rail crossings. She says she hopes the steeper fines will serve as a deterrent.

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