Bus Stopping Before Train Tracks

This question pertains to busses in New Jersey stopping and opening the front door right before passing train tracks. Mainly, why do they do that? Is there a law that stipulates this? I can understand looking for a wayward train before going on the tracks, but I don’t see a need to open the door. It just seems like an odd way to go about avoiding an accident. Thanks.

Aside from the visibility aid, it’s mostly so the driver can hear a train better.

[Hijack] About 8 years ago I was on jury service in Van Nuys CA. On my lunch break I am down the street eating a little Mexican restrauant. Any outside I keep seeing busses stop for some train tracks. That’s funny I thought, I don’t recall any train tracks in this neighborhood.
After I finished my lunch I went outside and discovered that the tracks went from curb to curb and then stopped. To use these tracks a train would have to drive through the rather substantial buildings on either side of the street… Yet the busses stopped there every time.
Still cracks me up.

It’s so the driver can hear a train better.

My father, who once worked for a railroad and saw one or two car-train collisions, would roll the car window down when approaching level crossings. It’s never enough to look, he says; you need to listen too.

I don’t know if New Jersey has a law that states buses must open their doors when stopped at train tracks, but it’s a smart thing to do.

The right answers have already been given and I’m not arguing with them. However, I believe that having to stop and open the door also causes the driver to actually stop and pay attention to what is happening. It prevents the driver from slowing down, giving a quick glance and taking off across the tracks. But that’s just my opinion (humble or not). :wink:

Here in Alabama, it serves 2 purposes. (The bus is required by state law to stop at all RR crossings.) Opening the door helps the driver to hear if there’s an oncoming train. It also turns on all the red flashing lights on the outside, warning silly sleepy car-drivers that the bus is stopped at the tracks.

Ahhh…ears. Forgot about those pesky things. Thanks.

And pretend I spelled “buses” with one ‘s’, please. :smack:

I have always thought it was kinda counterintuitive for busses to stop before RR crossings. Use utmost caution, look and listen for trains, sure… but it seems like the chances of getting hit by a train is directly proportional to the amount of time spent in the crossing. Coming to a full stop prior to the crossing seems to maximize that time by assuring that the vehicle is going very slow in the crossing.

Also, the best way to avoid the classic loss-of-power-stuck-on-tracks would be to enter the crossing with enough momentum to carry the vehicle across the tracks if the engine should fail.

Somebody in the DOT was sleeping on the job, as those tracks should have been marked as “Exempt” (meaning trucks and buses do NOT have to stop before the crossing, either because trains will use those tracks or else the crossing will be manually flagged before a train crosses it).
'Course, if they were just completely paved over that would work too.

Coincidentally, that’s also the best way to induce the classic loss-of-life-bus-bisected-by-train.

I always thought that buses stopped at train tracks because that was the law that was passed in the “I’m Just a Bill” Schoolhouse Rock song.

There is some truth in there.

Why? Two s’s is perfectly fine, and it’s my preferred spelling. I detest reading “byoozus” every time someone spells it right. :slight_smile:

The recommendation for railroad crossing has always been Stop, Look and Listen.

Some years ago we took my grandson over to watch the trains go through the Tehachapi Loop. Trains coming from Mohave toward Bakersfield come around a curve just a little before entering the loop and you have to listen for them because you can’t see them and trains these days move along at a good clip.

My sister reported a sign on a Union Pacific track crossing near Rock Springs, WY that said, “The City of Los Angeles takes 36 seconds to pass this crossing - WHETHER YOU CAR IS ON IT OR NOT!”

I think it’s visibilty first.

I used to ride buses in Idaho where there were no trains at all and currently ride them in SD county where they rarely cross active tracks. The bus drivers use the opening door thing to see a little better.

My current route to work in the morning takes me through a T intersection. The operator routinely opens the boarding door to get a better look down the avenue. I guess it’s kind of like sticking your head out the window, so to speak.

And as a quick aside, re the city of Los Angeles ref, that is soo true. A friend of mine drives for the BNSF and has told me that he doesn’t big-hole (emergency application) the brakes for a vehicle on a grade crossing. It would just put flats on the tires and they would still hit the damn thing anyway…

Source: Union Pacific Railroad News Release

School buses stop and the driver opens the door because it is easier to see and hear an oncoming train. Stopping the bus and opening the door requires the driver to take direct safety action and awareness.

I drive a bus. The door to a bus is about half glass and half other stuff. I open the door at about 1/4 the intersections I’m about to enter, because I have to be really-really-really sure it’s safe.

There is a California law that a bus stops at a RR track. A school bus also has to open it’s door.

IMHO it’s done for visibilty. And there’s a whale of a fine for not doing it.