Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationSafety · 1 decade ago

Is it really safer for school buses to stop at lighted, gated RR crossings?

than to just roll on through? I would think the chances of the bus stalling on the tracks while starting in motion would be much greater than a train materializing out of nowhere without triggering the gate and lights.

11 Answers

  • Andy
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Are you willing to bet your life on that?Gates and lights can't be counted on to work all the time.I have seen them fail a number of times.Safety devices are great but they are no substitute for an aware driver.Stop look and listen is a sure way to stay alive.Trucks hauling hazardous commodities are required to stop too.There's a reason for that.All those laws were written in the blood of accident victims.Everyone that drives needs to be aware of the danger around railroad tracks.Nothing is worse than killing someone at a crossing.It's such a needless death. is a good site to learn more.

    Edit.. I came back to this because i feel so strongly about it.It only takes a few seconds to stop and look and listen,but it can take years to get over the pain of losing a loved one.I wish every person that has a license had to sit and watch a video of what a train can do to a car.

    Source(s): railroad engineer for 31 years
  • ?
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Equipment can malfunction. Just because a bus driver sees that the gates are up & no lights are flashing doesn't mean that there may not be a train coming down the tracks.

    This is the same reason why trucks & semi's hauling Haz-Mat must stop @ all RR crossings also. It is unlikely that a bus, truck or semi that is required by law to stop @ all RR crossings will stall out. It is illegal to shift gears while crossing the tracks, & there's where the chance of a stall comes from- a missed gear.

    The vehicle must also be able to clear the tracks completely once the driver commits to crossing the tracks. Stopping, looking & listening allows the driver to physically look up & down the tracks for an unexpected train & to make sure there is sufficient room on the other side of the tracks to be able to clear the tracks. Buses average around 35-40 feet long, trucks can range from 16-30 feet & semis around 50-60 feet in length. The main reason why DOT requires these vehicles to stop @ all RR crossings is explained in one word-- SAFETY.

    Source(s): I've not only worked the Law Enforcement side of this question, but as a School Bus Driver, Professional Truck Driver & a Professional Driver Trainer teaching students how to safely operate commercial vehicles
  • 1 decade ago

    Devices, like lights and automatic gates, can and do fail, sometimes in the down position with no train in sight, but also in the up position with a train on the tracks, especially these days with copper prices so high and idiots stealing railroad wire as a result.

    Therefore, stopping, opening the doors to hear, and looking is much safer. Also the bus shouldn't enter the tracks unless they have room to clear the tracks, and stopping allows the crossing to clear of other traffic.

  • 1 decade ago

    Good habits are developed with repeated performance.

    Not only is it a law for school busses to stop at all railway crossings, but it's just a good habit to make a decision based on "safe" actions.

    That way, you will always fall back on the self-enforced habit if a dangerous situation or emergency develops "out of nowhere"..........

    Train crossing lights and gates also get vandalized from time to time or malfunction as well on occasion.

    Also, those busses are carrying several children and many could be injured or perish in a crash..........especially with a train.

    Source(s): Driving Instructor
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  • 1 decade ago

    I'm not willing to bet my life on it. I stop at crossings because you never know. In the case of school buses, they are required by law to stop at all railroad crossings and look both ways with the door open.

    ** Andy ** You will be happy to know that in the state of Texas all school bus drivers are required to attend a railroad safety meeting each year conducted by an engineer. During that meeting they do show footage of train wrecks. My mom drove a school bus for 14 years.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes! My father is a retired railroad worker; he was a track foreman. When I began driving, the only advice he ever gave me was to stop at all railroad crossings regardless of lights and gates. He knew they could malfunction. It's always a good idea to stop and look and then look again.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think its stupid also, but here is why they say to do that.

    Most vehicles stall because when they shift gears, the gears wont work or wont go in to the next gear and stall. So the the driver of the bus is to stop ... put it in 1st."that way they know its it gear" drive over the tracks with out shifting into second. That way it never got the chance to stall.

    All and all ... its still stupid though.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    This is an old, old law back when there were no gates in front of rail road crossings. The gates came in to alert the drivers. However, the law is still on the books.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    All school buses must stop at lighted and or gated railroad crossings, its a state law....

    Source(s): 923
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Many lines of thought on this. I don't think they should stop--too much danger of being hit from behind.

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