UTA Releases Video Of School Buses Making Questionable Moves At Rail Crossing
WOODS CROSS, Utah – Utah Transit Authority officials released new video showing two school buses that may have broken the law at a Davis County rail crossing moments before a FrontRunner train sped through the intersection.
Officials released the video Thursday after KSL viewer Blake Walker shared a video of one Davis County School District school bus stopped with a railroad crossing arm resting on the roof Wednesday afternoon.
Walker shot the video as he pulled up to the crossing at 1100 North and 1100 West in Woods Cross said he and could not believe what he was seeing.
The video showed a Davis County school bus with a railroad crossing arms resting on the roof and Walker said he feared the bus would be hit by the approaching train, which raced by at 79 mph without doing any harm.
“I saw two school buses go through,” said Martin Cocker, who oversees FrontRunner safety for UTA.
Cocker reviewed the video at the time of the incident.
UTA’s video showed another Davis County School District bus rolling across the tracks without slowing down.
“It went through at about 20 mph, without stopping,” he said.
According to state law, school buses must stop at the white line and open their door to look and listen for trains.
“(They) need to stop behind the white line which is 15 feet from the tracks,” said Sue Wagner, who trains bus drivers in the Davis County School District.
The second bus, the one seen in Walker’s video, followed closely behind the first bus. It slowly rolled past the white stopping line and stopped when the lights and bells came on and the arm came down on the top of the bus.
“Did not stop,” Cocker said. “Rolled at about two mph up to the point where the warning arm came down on top of it and then stopped.”
Wagner said she has not seen UTA’s video but talked with the bus driver seen in Walker’s video and said she met with all district bus drivers last month to discuss these specific issues at their biannual safety meetings.
“Railroad crossings and loading and unloading are the dangerous things we do,” Wagner said. “They better take them very seriously.”
Once she sees the video from UTA, she will assess what the driver did. The driver told her he pulled forward so he could see better and the crossing arm came down on the bus.
When KSL took a closer look at the intersection, the line of sight seemed adequate driving in that direction. But heading the other way, the bus driver can only see about 10 or 15 yards down the tracks without creeping up to get a closer look, so it isn’t always easy to check for trains.
“There are several like this,” Wagner said.
But bus drivers must always stop and open the door, which did not happen when those two buses crossed the tracks Wednesday.
“Trains can’t stop, and that’s the real key to all safety around the rails,” Cocker said.
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