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AGO 1953 No. 501 - March 24, 1953
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

STOPPING OF SCHOOL BUS WHEN UNLOADED.

A school bus must be stopped at railroad crossings even though there are no passengers in the bus.

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                                                                   March 24, 1953

Honorable W. R. Cole
Prosecuting Attorney
Kittitas County
Ellensburg, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 501

 Dear Sir:

             On March 4, 1953, you requested an opinion from this office on the question of whether or not a person operating a school bus must stop at railroad crossings when the bus is not loaded.

             It is the conclusion of this office that a school bus must be stopped at railroad crossings even though there are no passengers in the bus.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

             RCW 46.60.320 states:

             "Any person operating a vehicle carrying passengers for hire or a school bus or a vehicle in which are being transported explosive substances or flammable liquids shall bring such vehicle to a full stop within fifty feet, but not less than twenty feet, of any railroad * * *" (Emphasis supplied)

             A school bus is a school bus without regard to whether it is loaded or unloaded.  In addition to the express language of this statute, the superintendent of Public Instruction has issued rules and regulations for drivers operating school buses.  Rule 6 reads as follows:

              [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "All school buses must stop at all railroad crossings and must not proceed unless the visibility is clear and the bus can proceed with safety.  (If necessary, the School Safety Patrolman must flag.)"

             The office of the superintendent of Public Instruction states that this rule means both loaded and unloaded buses.

 Very truly yours,
DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General 

CYRUS A. DIMMICK
Assistant Attorney General

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