Read about the Great Fleets Across America
Subscribe

School Bus Fleet Magazine Forums
School Bus Fleet Magazine Forums
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Members | Search | FAQ
 All Forums
 Safety Issues and Drivers' Concerns
 Enter Forum: Safety Issues and Drivers' Concerns
 Not stopping at railroad crossings
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  

Formerly Known As 80-RE4
Active Member

USA
20 Posts

Posted - 05/17/2011 :  06:00:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't believe I've ever written about this as this happened a few years ago and it's been in the back of my head ever since.

My rule of thumb is that you are to ALWAYS stop at railroad tracks unless there is a sign that displays Exempt. Me and another driver were going to pick up another bus which required us to go over two railroad crossings. I was not driving, the other driver was. The driver has been around a lot longer than me and he knew that the tracks were no longer used. In that town, whenever I came upon those tracks, I always put to use proper RR crossing procedures.

When this driver approached the tracks, he said they aren't used anymore (there was NO sign that said Exempt) and he did not perform proper RR crossing procedures. He simply went over the two tracks at the speed limit. I did not say anything as I felt he was the senior driver and much older than me.

1. What would you have done?

Also, there is a lot of disagreement about whether or not you have to stop at a set of tracks that are on a major route where the speed limit is 45. The road is a two lane, heavily used road. There are a set of traffic lights that 99% of the time display green. I've never seen a train come through. I used to have a route that went by the crossings and I would always stop. I would first activate my four ways, then tap on my breaks well ahead of time, as well as put on my ambers for one to two seconds about two to three times to notify speeding traffic that I was coming to a stop. (Note: I would not keep the ambers on for more than 2 seconds), I did not want to get rear ended. It may have been wrong for me to activate them but I felt tapping on the brakes (showing the red brake lights ahead of time, as well as the 4ways, and very shortly activating the ambers on and off) would alert traffic that I am stopping.

Question: Some drivers believe that because this light never changes, and it is on a highway with a high speed limit, that you do not have to stop. Most people drove 55-60.

From your opinion, do you agree with me, that you must stop at these tracks?

The city where these are located did a horrible job. If a driver was not familiar with the area, they would probably not see the tracks until it was too late. The RR signs were 5 feet from the tracks. Almost no warning, on a major, "high speed" heavily used route.

overbyja
Senior Member

USA
123 Posts

Posted - 05/17/2011 :  11:51:25 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There are number of factors you bring up here. Are these traffic lights you're talking about exclusively protecting the RR Xing or are they for a parallel cross street? The general rule of thumb is that a traffic signal that exclusively protects the RR Xing overrides the stopping rule, unless of course it is red. In lower Michigan, there is a freeway (US 127) that crosses some tracks at grade and is protected by both flashing red lights and a traffic signal. There are signs that say "Trucks and Buses Need Not Stop when Signal is Green". Just to be sure, I would check with your local authorities.

Go to Top of Page

Thomas Ford 85-16
Top Member

USA
4170 Posts

Posted - 05/19/2011 :  3:41:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit Thomas Ford 85-16's Homepage  Send Thomas Ford 85-16 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
What overby said! The green light on a red-yellow-green traffic signal is sort of "almighty" in these matters. That is, IF it's there exclusively for the rail road tracks. As for the social aspect of your question...probably wasn't any need to say anything in that situation since no one was actually in danger. Just do what you already do. If it makes you feel any better, I stop at even Exempt signs. I am in Michigan, and our normal vehicle code says that commercial vehicles do not need to stop where an Exempt sign is displayed, however the Pupil Transportation Act, where it mentions school buses needing to stop, does NOT contain that allowance. As I see it, a school bus still needs to stop. Further, our law says that a stop is not needed only if tracks are abandoned AND tracks are removed AND signs are removed. So, I've stopped at crossings where there were no tracks but there were signs, and I've stopped at crossings where there were no signs but were tracks. (And actually one of those was still active. )

Mike's Bus Yard - http://buses.zwebpages.com - Since 1999
Go to Top of Page

matts4290
Advanced Member

220 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  07:14:33 AM  Show Profile  Visit matts4290's Homepage  Reply with Quote
They've always told us that if in doubt, to go ahead and stop anyway, and yes, in Michigan, if the traffic light is controlled with the railroad crossing, you do not have to stop. Edwardsburg, Michigan is riddled with these. Especially the intersection of US 12 and 62.
IMO, and as a rule of thumb, even if you flash your amber lights, you have to do what you have to do to get the other drivers' attention. My driving instructor once told me in a lose-lose situation, you do what you have to do. I don't care what the law says if my kids are in danger.

We can't all be conventional!
http://www.youtube.com/user/matts4290

Edited by - matts4290 on 05/20/2011 07:16:33 AM
Go to Top of Page

bluebirdvision
Top Member

USA
1002 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2011 :  08:30:45 AM  Show Profile  Click to see bluebirdvision's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Warning lights SHOULD NOT be used for anything else than a student drop off/pick up. They have been really cracking down on that in NY State.

Shane Kirley
New York Bus Sales Delivery Driver. (I know its not much, but its a start)


Facebook Page: Blue Bird Corporation Fans
https://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_212311114614&ap=1


Go to Top of Page

JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 05/25/2011 :  10:14:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We had an abandoned railroad crossing, which the only tracks were across the road, the tracks had long since been removed from both sides of the road. As stupid as stupid can be we were required to stop at those tracks. The road was finally widened and the tracks removed ending the debate. (jk)

Stop Violence on the school buses!
Stop bullying and other violence - Complete with excellent video! According to the American Public Health Association, the school bus is the second most common place for bullying to occur (the first is on the playground). This Fast Track slide presentation can help stop bullying on the school buses. Includes class handouts. Free to use in self-study, for class training, and for presentation to the school board. Click Here for Link (See Post # 14)

Stopping Violence on School Buses: Not an Easy Task but One that Can be Accomplished - Click here for source.
Go to Top of Page

busfan1979
Active Member

13 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2011 :  5:31:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit busfan1979's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I stop regardless of whether the tracks are in use or abandoned. I would not want to put the kids safety in jeopardy because of something stupid like where the tracks are located. Even if there is a sign, I would still stop at all crossings. Just how I was trained.

Edited by - busfan1979 on 05/26/2011 5:32:43 PM
Go to Top of Page

WallyG
Advanced Member

United States
254 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2011 :  04:50:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If this comes up advise mamagement they can have the "exempt" signs put up. Drivers sometimes have to do stupid things I don't agree if the tracks are gone on both sides of the street? Is there a cop on earth that would give a ticket to a bus driver who just went through the intersection?
Go to Top of Page

Thomas Ford 85-16
Top Member

USA
4170 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2011 :  5:26:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit Thomas Ford 85-16's Homepage  Send Thomas Ford 85-16 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by WallyG

If this comes up advise mamagement they can have the "exempt" signs put up. Drivers sometimes have to do stupid things I don't agree if the tracks are gone on both sides of the street? Is there a cop on earth that would give a ticket to a bus driver who just went through the intersection?


Sometimes following stupid laws is a way to get them changed!
Go to Top of Page

littlebit
Advanced Member

431 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2011 :  5:26:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Its been a long time but this post brought me back..

On my route I have a set of tracks, I personally watched the landowners pull these tracks out on both sides. The tracks on the road are left, the city doesn't want to fix the road and neither does the county..so the tracks stay.
I was not stopping, but then at the state meeting TN..we were told that even if we knew the tracks were inactive we still had to stop.
So now I activate my flashers, stop the bus, pop the air brake, look to my left. look to my right and look up..I figure I have as much of a chance of a train falling out of the sky as I have one hitting me.. LOL
Notice I don't open my door...it is not in the best part of town and I am alone when I stop 1st thing in the am and the last thing in the afternoon.

Bus 34
Go to Top of Page

JK
Top Member

USA
7307 Posts

Posted - 06/09/2011 :  07:37:06 AM  Show Profile  Visit JK's Homepage  Reply with Quote
"Sometimes following stupid laws is a way to get them changed!"

True enough, Thomas Ford 85-16. Regardless, in some cases where obeying a law presents a dangerous hazard or some other horrific outcome another answer may be to ignore that law. Would guess it depends what country we live in, since in this country the original intention was that the people run the government, not the government running the people. Civil disobedience is a mitigated right in our nation, but not without cost. A decision has to be made. I obeyed the stupid demand concerning the RR tracks on the road mentioned in an earlier post, while some drivers ignored those tracks. Each made their decision come what may. (jk)

Stopping Violence on School Buses: Not an Easy Task but One that Can be Accomplished - Click here for source.

Edited by - JK on 06/09/2011 07:38:29 AM
Go to Top of Page

schoolbuses2007@aol.com
Active Member

USA
17 Posts

Posted - 06/19/2011 :  4:03:47 PM  Show Profile  Send schoolbuses2007@aol.com an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Hello.

I'm from Delaware, and for the 2010 - 2011 school year DE passed a law that ALL school Buses were to stop at all RR crossings even if there were no students on the bus. When I first started driving we were able to just drive right over them when we were empty. Even though we have that law in effect a lot of Buses dont pay attention to it. They just go right past them.
As for the stopping at a RR where the speed limit is 45MPH or better, we are still required to stop no matter what. Even if the track are "Exempt" We have to stop. The only exception is if there is a building built on the track that are no longer in use.

Fred
Go to Top of Page

RweThereYet
Active Member

USA
33 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2011 :  5:42:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I know I'm a bit late to this dance but for what it is worth I'd be stopping in accordance with my state and schools regulations rather than take the risk of making myself personally liable; and likewise, I wouldn't go making up my own procedure for how I operate the bus.
Go to Top of Page

Andypd
New Member

1 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2012 :  3:03:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit Andypd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I found this whole thread very interesting to read as I am a driving instructor from the uk and I do take alot of interest in driving from around the world, i obviously can't give you any additional advice on this particular situation, but just let you know that signs and markings in the uk are also neglected to enable councils to save their money.

Andy d
www.impactdriving.co.uk
Go to Top of Page

Trailboss
Senior Member

United States
149 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2012 :  05:02:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Railroad crossing signs are under Federal jurisdiction and no local or state jurisdiction can change a rail crossing. Thats why it takes so long to get anything done with the abanden crossings.The rails can be completly gone but as long as the signs are still there you must stop unless there is an exempt sign.
Go to Top of Page

RD9000
Senior Member

72 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2012 :  12:15:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It is interesting how laws/rules on railroad crossings vary from state to state. School buses in Oklahoma are only required to stop at railroad crossings when students are on board. Some districts have policies that require you stop at all crossings regardless and some do not.
Go to Top of Page

Trailboss
Senior Member

United States
149 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2012 :  03:24:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
RD9000 you might want to check that out with the State Director Trent Gibson the law was recently changed in OK.You must now stop even if students are not on.
Go to Top of Page

RD9000
Senior Member

72 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2012 :  12:40:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's good to know. My driving hat is off for now these days unfortunately!
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
 


School Bus Fleet Magazine Forums © 2013 School Bus Fleet Magazine Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.19 seconds. Snitz Forums 2000