When Can You Pass a School Bus?

Did you know that 480,000 buses transport 26 million children daily in the US to and from school?

Are you confused about when you can pass school buses? It’s no surprise that they are confused. You must understand the law and situational factors that could affect you to pass.

After all, you don’t want to face charges if you get into an accident because of a poorly-timed pass.

Keep reading to learn more about when can you pass a school bus.

State-Specific Rules and Regulations

In some states, it is illegal to pass a school bus while it is stopped to load or unload students, regardless of where you are traveling. In other states, motorists can pass when traveling in the opposite direction of the school bus if a median or barrier separates the two roads.

Furthermore, the laws for passing a school bus on multi-lane highways vary widely from state to state and city to city. It is essential to familiarize yourself with state laws before passing a school bus. Failure to comply can result in a hefty fine.

Fines will often vary based on the severity of the offense and the number of potential victims that could be at risk. In most cases, waiting until the school bus has resumed its journey to pass safely is the safest choice. For more legal help with these rules and regulations, check out this top reckless driving attorney.

Safety Considerations

Passing a school bus while it is stopped to load and unload students is illegal. The bus driver will activate the flashing red lights and extend the stop arm to signal they are unloading. Drivers in both directions must be at least ten feet from the bus and wait until the bus has loaded and unloaded the students.

School buses are built with safety considerations in mind, and the people getting off or on them should be afforded their due respect. Do not move your vehicle or proceed until the flashing red lights and stop arm are no longer in use, even if no students are getting off or on. If you do pass a stopped school bus, you could be subject to fines and other penalties.

Legal Consequences

Being aware of the legal consequences is essential when passing a school bus. The law requires that drivers stay stopped for the entire duration of the school bus stop regardless of their direction. Failure to do so can result in consequences, such as a ticket, points subtracted from your license, and a hefty fine.

Moreover, careless disregard for school bus safety protocols can even result in jail time. It is also important to remember that school bus drivers are given the right-of-way, so they must always follow their instructions. 

Court-Imposed Penalties

Drivers can be charged with endangering the welfare of a child, reckless driving, and other violations of traffic laws. State laws vary on specifics, including fines and jail time.

Drivers in the opposite lane must also come to a complete stop for the safety of the students entering or exiting the bus. Ignoring school bus traffic regulations puts students’ lives in danger and will result in severe consequences.

Speed Limits in the Area

Drivers should always reduce their speed when approaching a stopped school bus. Even when the school bus is on the opposite side of a divided highway, drivers should still be aware of the speed limit and reduce their speed in the area the bus is stopped. This helps the safety of all students.

If the speed limit is 20 mph, it is recommended that drivers reduce their speed to 15 mph or lower when driving through the area of the school bus. Drivers must see speed limits when approaching a school bus for the safety of all those involved.

The Amount of Traffic

The area’s traffic can significantly affect how safe it is to pass. If you have a long road in front of you with only a few cars, you can safely pass the bus with a bit of distance. If, however, you are driving on a road with a lot of traffic, or one that is narrow, you may have to wait behind the bus and not pass until the bus has moved on.

You must also pay attention to the bus’ flashing lights, which indicate that children are disembarking or boarding, and it must not be passed until the warning lights have been turned off. Remember that the safety of the children around a stopped school bus is paramount, so always abide by these rules to keep everyone safe!

Weather Conditions

Safety is always a top priority when driving, especially around school buses. Weather conditions greatly influence when you can pass a school bus. You cannot pass when it rains or the roads are wet or icy.

When driving in fog, paying extra attention to the school bus is essential, wildly if its lights are flashing, stopping, or slowing down. If visibility is low, you should support an extra safe distance from the bus, as you may not have time to react if the bus stops in front of you. Doing so could put you in a dangerous or life-threatening situation.

Lastly, always obey a school bus’s signs and signals indicating it is slowing down and stopping. The bus driver will always tell you when you can safely pass it. Please adhere to these guidelines and ensure the safety of yourself, the bus, and its passengers on the road.

Knowing the Guidelines About When Can You Pass a School Bus

When can you pass a school bus? It is paramount to pay attention to the laws and regulations of your particular state, as failure to do is a punishable offense. Practice safety and vigilance on the road – meeting the legal requirements of passing a school bus is essential to protecting young riders.

Be sure to look and listen for school bus signals before passing. Let’s all drive responsibly and safely!

Want to find out more about how we can help you? Visit our site for more.

By Billy Jaimes