What vehicles must stop at all railroad crossings?

I was driving behind a school bus the other day and I noticed that when we approached a railroad crossing, it stopped—even though there wasn’t a train coming. Is this a legal requirement? Do other vehicles do this?

Shannon Fitzgerald · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
You’ve guessed it right—that school bus is, in fact, legally required to stop at all railroad crossings regardless of whether or not there is a train approaching. In fact, most commercial vehicles or heavily loaded vehicles must stop at all railroad crossings.
Here’s a list of vehicles that must always stop at least 15 feet from a railroad crossing:
  • School buses—with and without passengers
  • Trucks and tractors carrying hazardous materials—like fuel, explosives, or radioactive materials
  • Public or private buses carrying passengers
Note that railroad crossing rules are decided on state-to-state basis. While most states agree that these types of vehicles must stop before a railroad crossing, other vehicles may also be included in this list depending on what state you’re in.
Knowing the rules of the road in your state helps protect you while you’re driving, as does having good car insurance. With
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