Houston, TX - near miss (school bus vs. freight train)

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Jimini

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Article.

Someone's out of a job!

A Texas school bus driver is out of a job after she stopped her high school student-laden bus just inches — really, inches — past a freight train barreling down the tracks.


The incident occurred earlier this month at an intersection near Klein Oak High School in the suburbs of Houston, reports local NBC affiliate KPRC.
 
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Merseysider

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Is it customary in the US to prosecute this type of recklessness?

The Daily Mail has a piece on it:
DM said:
  • Incident happened in Klein, Texas, on February 10 as the school bus was taking Klein Oak High School students home
  • School bus driver crossed train tracks just moments before a freight train zoomed by
  • Cellphone video recorded by a student shows locomotive passing right behind the bus
  • Texas state law dictates that a driver cannot come closer than 15 feet to railroad tracks with a train in the distance
  • The driver claimed students on board the bus were too loud for the bus to be driven safely
  • She was initially suspended and later resigned, according to her daughter
 

ac6000cw

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According to the DM article, the location of the near-miss is here (on StreetView) - https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@30.0979476,-95.5141002,3a,75y,6.68h,80.39t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sYFvAjH3lv5hRPcgrOIDXoQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

This looks like one of those 'accident waiting to happen with long vehicle' junctions alongside a railway line - all too common in the US. There is a stop sign just after the crossing... the school is just behind the camera, so this will be a busy road junction at going-home time.

Yes, the bus driver should have been more careful, but even so there is probably only just enough space between the crossing and the stop sign for a bus anyway. Since I suspect they built the school and turned a low-traffic rural crossing into a very busy one several times a day, why didn't they re-design the road junction to create more 'standing space' between railway and road junction ?
 
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philabos

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Yes, this could have been a repeat of the 1995 Fox River Grove accident under almost indentical circumstances. Thankfully, it was not with inches to spare. The prior accident was determined to be caused by poor road design and highway signal design, as well as the fact the vehicle could not clear the crossing before occupation of same.
 

theageofthetra

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Is it correct that in the US a school bus driver doesn't need to have the equivalent of a UK PSV licence?
 

ac6000cw

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NY Yankee

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There is usually a gate at the grade crossing that goes down when a train is approaching. There are also bells and lights. A person would have to be extremely negligent to miss those warnings.
 
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