If you’ve ever ridden ~ above or propelled behind a institution bus, you could have noticed that these yellow behemoths always stop at railroad tracks, nevertheless of whether over there is one oncoming train. The driver stops, opens up the window and the door, and listens prior to heading along. Yet have you ever wondered why?

Service Tips: room these weird smells comes from her air conditioner?

To some, the practice could seem like a garbage of time, or at least like an overly careful safety measure. But like countless traffic laws, it to be a tragedy that brought about this one. To recognize why school buses protect against at rail tracks, we should go back to Sandy, Utah, top top Dec. 1, 1938, as soon as the worst college bus accident in U.S. Background occurred.

You are watching: Why do buses stop at railroad crossings

The tragedy that caused the rule

A snowstorm had been raging in Sandy, wherein bus driver Farrold “Slim” Silcox was taking a group of 39 students to Jordan High School. When he landed on a railroad crossing at 300 West and also slightly north of 10600 south (which no exist anymore), he stopped to look for a train through looking with the windows. The law at the time only forced bus chauffeurs to stop and look, yet it didn’t call for them to open the door to listen for oncoming trains.

As Silcox began to cross the tracks, a train slammed right into the bus. “The paris Ute” had actually been heading phibìc from Denver, to run an hour late since of the blizzard. The collided with the college bus in ~ 60 mph, dragging it because that nearly half a mile before it could stop. Slim Silcox and 23 college student died.

Driving in eye is exceptionally difficult for school bus driversPhoto: ecksunderscore via CC

Results from the update law

Since then, the law has compelled school bus motorists to not only stop at all railroad crossings, but additionally to open up their door and also side window to listen before proceeding. Even on clear days where motorists can see clearly both means for numerous feet, they are still required to stop, open, and listen. If there have actually been occasional mishaps involving buses and also trains in current history, none have been as awful as the Sandy, Utah, tragedy many thanks to the to update law, which varies by state.

Fun and also Safe Summer: check out these advantageous tips because that a stress-free family members road trip

For an ext on school bus safety as we observe national Safety Month this June, examine out our college bus security tips that you have the right to remind you yourself of prior to school starts earlier up in the fall.

See more: Can I Take Tylenol With Xanax Dosages, Side Effects, Risks, And Withdrawal


Morgan has lived everywhere the USA and also in Europe. Currently residing just outside of Philly, Morgan often spends time at local sporting events, experimentation the limits of she caffeine tolerance levels, and playing board gamings with your wife. See an ext articles by Morgan.