You will notice at
the very start of the video (33 seconds in), as the bus completes
the left turn and approaches the railroad tracks, the red lights are
blinking and the bells are sounding. At that point, there seemed to
be plenty of time for the bus to stop within the prescribed
distance. However, the driver continues past the point of the
barricade's path, and 38 seconds into the video (5 seconds after the
lights begin flashing), the barricades start to lower. 46 Seconds
into the video, the barricade hits the top of the bus (on the roof
of the bus). At this point, the front of the bus is dangerously
close to the tracks, as the driver of the bus realizes the situation
and begins to back up, and the driver of the car behind the bus sees
the bus backing up, and follows suit.
As the bus backs
up, the barricade falls off the roof of the bus, and lands
forward of the right mirror
and behind the right mirror
(this is clear in the Cell phone clip in the second part of the
video, 3 minutes and 12 seconds in). At this point, if the bus moves
in either direction, the barricade bar and / or the bus' mirrors
would be damaged.
The bus was now
just barely clear of the tracks, and out of danger. Twenty five
seconds into the video, the approaching train sounds the whistle.
I'm sure that the train's camera (if there is one) captured the
incident, and would reveal just how close this incident came to
becoming a real tragedy.
After the train
passes, the barricades are lifted, and there was no apparent damage
(that I could see) to the bus or the barricades. As the bus passed
me, the driver noticed that I was holding my Cell phone against the
windshield of my Jeep, and she was visibly shaken.
Idiots on the road
is why I have both front and rear-facing
in my Jeep, but this incident was
the video frame-by-frame, I
cannot entirely blame the bus driver
here. Firstly, there was only
FIVE SECONDS of warning from
the time the crossing lights started flashing and the barricades
were lowered. Secondly, there is absolutely
no pavement markings designating a
Railroad Crossing, and the
remaining markings are badly faded and worn away.
The Google Earth
map (dated 10/7/2011) below shows an aerial view of the
intersection. The yellow square denotes the position of the school
bus, the red square was my position in my
and the two orange arrows show position of the RR Crossing signs and
barricade mechanism. You will note that there are no pavement
markings denoting a Railroad Crossing, and this is not the only RR
Crossing intersection in the area which is not clearly marked.
fault notwithstanding, this intersection is
because of faded / lack of markings, and the short warning traffic
gets between the RR Crossing lights and bells and the barricades
being lowered. The National Safety Council has
Recommended Procedures for School Bus Drivers at Railroad Crossings
(PDF) that this driver should have been familiar with.
defensive driver knows not to cross an intersection until you
can get safely across. I am not at liberty to do an investigation
here, but it seems that one is definitely in order. I emailed the
Clementon Police, and several TV NEWS stations with links to this
video and this Web page.
wrong needs to be corrected before somebody gets killed here. It
could be that the bus driver was distracted by a cell phone
addiction (such as texting while driving);
I have no way to know. As I write this, I realize that I came
perilously close to having to pull injured or dead children out of a
demolished School bus, and that would have done friggin' wonders for