does anyone know if there are state or federal laws that prohibit commercial (CDL) drivers from stopping on RR tracks? I know school buses have to stop before them, but what about actually stopping on the tracks (then backing up i might add).
Title 32 code
Do not know for sure.
Certain vehicles must stop at all railroad grade crossings; exceptions.
(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), the driver of any vehicle described in regulations issued pursuant to subsection (c), before crossing at grade any track or tracks of a railroad, shall stop such vehicle within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail of such railroad and while so stopped shall listen and look in both directions along such track for any approaching train, and for signals indicating the approach of a train and shall not proceed until he can do so safely. After stopping as required herein and upon proceeding when it is safe to do so the driver of any said vehicle shall cross only in such gear of the vehicle that there will be no necessity for manually changing gears while traversing such crossing and the driver shall not manually shift gears while crossing the track or tracks. Nothing contained in this section is intended to abrogate or modify the present Alabama doctrine of "stop, look and listen" obtaining in the courts of Alabama.
(b) This section shall not apply at:
(1) Any railroad grade crossing at which traffic is controlled by a police officer or human flagman;
(2) Any railroad grade crossing at which traffic is regulated by a traffic-control signal;
(3) Any railroad grade crossing protected by crossing gates or any alternately flashing light signal intended to give warning of the approach of a railroad train;
(4) Any railroad grade crossing at which an official traffic control device gives notice that the stopping requirement imposed by this section does not apply.
(c) The Director of Transportation shall adopt such regulations as may be necessary describing the vehicles which must comply with the stopping requirements of this section. In formulating such regulations the Director of Transportation shall give consideration to the number of passengers carried by the vehicle and the hazardous nature of any substance carried by the vehicle in determining whether such vehicle shall be required to stop. Such regulations shall correlate with and so far as possible conform to the most recent regulation of the United States Department of Transportation.
(Acts 1980, No. 80-434, p. 604, §7-102.)
Unregardless of silly laws, well except laws of physics, no one at anytime should stop ON RR tracks. It can take a train MILES to stop, and it's not like you don't know one could be coming. If there are tracks(active), there are trains. Simple.
Even if there weren't any laws MOST truckdrivers realize that although an 18 wheeler can win most arguments on the roads. They LOSE everytime they tangle with a train.
The truck driver that doesn't realize that finds out the hard way, once.
Most dump truck drivers need to learn that lesson, they don't hesitate to run in front of a train. Usually 5-10 per trip, and they would be looking right at us as they ran in front of us. It started a saying where I work..."Dickheads in Dumptrucks".
I used to work for Burlington Northern Railroad while I was in college about 20 years ago. I forgot the equation, but they always told us that a standard loaded freight train hitting an 40 ton fully-loaded semi tractor trailer (legal weight limit) is almost the same ratio as a fully loaded semi tractor trailer hitting a 12 ounce can of beer...with about the same results.
i guess that explains why he choose to backup...
but what i'm wondering is if there is a law that says you shouldnt start to cross the tracks until you are able to completetly get over them.
Not that I'm aware of.
Of course there is. Just like any other intersection you ain't supposed to enter if you aren't going to be able to get out the other side. Otherwise we would have instant gridlock everywhere.
here is CA Vehicle Code
(d) (1) The driver of any vehicle approaching an intersection
which has official traffic control signals (includes all types of RR crossing signs)that are inoperative shall stop at the intersection, and may proceed with caution when it is
safe to do so. This subparagraph shall apply to traffic control
signals that become inoperative because of battery failure. This would apply where you came up to a crossing with gates that have been hit and are operating partially up or down and not moving. Almost all gates are designed to fault to on and workling when damaged, and sometimes when they have been hit they jam partially up or down.
22450. (a) The driver of any vehicle approaching a stop sign at the
entrance to, or within, an intersection, or railroad grade crossing
shall stop at a limit line, if marked, otherwise before entering the
crosswalk on the near side of the intersection.
If there is no limit line or crosswalk, the driver shall stop at
the entrance to the intersecting roadway or railroad grade crossing.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a local authority
may adopt rules and regulations by ordinance or resolution providing
for the placement of a stop sign at any location on a highway under
its jurisdiction where the stop sign would enhance traffic safety.
22451. (a) The driver of any vehicle or pedestrian approaching a
railroad or rail transit grade crossing shall stop not less than 15
feet from the nearest rail and shall not proceed until he or she can
do so safely, whenever the following conditions exist:
(1) A clearly visible electric or mechanical signal device or a
flagman gives warning of the approach or passage of a train or car.
(2) An approaching train or car is plainly visible or is emitting
an audible signal and, by reason of its speed or nearness, is an
(b) No driver or pedestrian shall proceed through, around, or
under any railroad or rail transit crossing gate while the gate is
(c) Whenever a railroad or rail transit crossing is equipped with
an automated enforcement system, a notice of a violation of this
section is subject to the procedures provided in Section 40518.
22452. (a) Subdivisions (b) and (c) apply to the operation of the
(1) Any bus or farm labor vehicle carrying passengers.
(2) Any motortruck transporting employees in addition to those
riding in the cab.
(3) Any schoolbus and any school pupil activity bus transporting
school pupils, except as otherwise provided in paragraph (4) of
(4) Every commercial motor vehicle transporting any quantity of a
Division 2.3 chlorine, as classified by Title 49 of the Code of
(5) Every commercial motor vehicle that is required to be marked
or placarded in accordance with the regulations of Title 49 of the
Code of Federal Regulations with one of the following federal
(A) Division 1.1.
(B) Division 1.2, or Division 1.3.
(C) Division 2.3 Poison gas.
(D) Division 4.3.
(E) Class 7.
(F) Class 3 Flammable.
(G) Division 5.1.
(H) Division 2.2.
(I) Division 2.3 Chlorine.
(J) Division 6.1 Poison.
(K) Division 2.2 Oxygen.
(L) Division 2.1.
(M) Class 3 Combustible liquid.
(N) Division 4.1.
(O) Division 5.1.
(P) Division 5.2.
(Q) Class 8.
(R) Class Division 1.4.
(S) Every cargo tank motor vehicle, whether loaded or empty, used
for the transportation of any hazardous material, as defined in Parts
107 to 180, inclusive, of Title 49 of the Code of Federal
(6) Every cargo tank motor vehicle transporting a commodity that
at the time of loading has a temperature above its flashpoint, as
determined under Section 173.120 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal
(7) Every cargo tank motor vehicle, whether loaded or empty,
transporting any commodity under exemption in accordance with Subpart
B of Part 107 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(b) Before traversing a railroad grade crossing, the driver of any
vehicle described in subdivision (a) shall stop that vehicle not
less than 15 nor more than 50 feet from the nearest rail of the track
and while so stopped shall listen, and look in both directions along
the track, for any approaching train and for signals indicating the
approach of a train, and shall not proceed until he or she can do so
safely. Upon proceeding, the gears shall not be shifted manually
while crossing the tracks.
(c) No stop need be made at any crossing in the following
(1) Of railroad tracks running along and upon the roadway within a
business or residence district.
(2) Where a traffic officer or an official traffic control signal
directs traffic to proceed.
(3) Where an exempt sign was authorized by the Public Utilities
Commission prior to January 1, 1978.
(4) Where an official railroad crossing stop exempt sign in
compliance with Section 21400 has been placed by the Department of
Transportation or a local authority pursuant to Section 22452.5.
This paragraph shall not apply with respect to any schoolbus or to
any school pupil activity bus.