Beaver County

Beaver County father concerned over school buses not stopping on Rt. 51

DARLINGTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Residents in Darlington Township feel there is only one way to describe Route 51.

“Route 51 is a raceway. It’s busy, there’s a lot of cars, a lot of trucks, and a lot of buses,” said Tim Moore.

Set right in the middle of this open stretch of roadway is a set of tracks. It’s required by law to stop at the intersection if you are driving a school bus.

But Moore said that just isn’t happening when it comes to the buses at Blackhawk School District.

“I don’t like it; I don’t like it. Rules are put in place for a reason and if that bus is transporting my kids, then I expect the bus drivers to follow every rule that’s out there,” Moore said.

We took Moore’s concerns to McCarter Transit Inc., who contracts with Blackhawk. Vice President of Operations Dan Donnelly told Channel 11 that his buses are not stopping because this line of tracks is almost never used, and the dangers of the road have led to buses being rear-ended.

“McCarter Transit Inc. appreciates the recent attention about safety protocols at railroad crossings on Route 51. Vehicle collisions on this stretch are frequent. In fact, a school bus was rear-ended at the storage spur railroad crossing on Route 51 not long ago. We have developed safety protocols in consultation with local law enforcement and the railroad owner /operator that are consistent with state law exemptions. If/When activity occurs on the spur line the railroad company deploys Flaggers and activate reds at crossing. Speeds on the spur line are limited to <10 MPH. An exemption under 75 P.S § 3342(c) is in process with the support of the railroad. McCarter Transit is committed to safety, and we commend the safety performance of all our drivers,” Donnelly said.

But until an exemption is in place, Moore believes the buses still need to stop.

“Tractor-trailers hauling hazmat — they have to stop at the railroad tracks as well, and as you can see the two tractor-trailers that passed here were hauling hazmat and they stopped at the tracks as required by law,” Moore said.

We did reach out to the Blackhawk superintendent about the concerns, but did not hear back.

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