It is already spring, but the school year doesn't end for a couple of months. As summer approaches, drivers may get complacent about the presence of school buses, and children may be careless when crossing the street. Nevertheless, Georgia school bus laws are strict, and rightly so.
Each year, drivers kill 19 children by illegally passing school buses. Most of these children are no older than seven. If you recently received a ticket for passing a school bus, it may be because you were unfamiliar with state laws for what to do when a bus stops to pick up or drop off students.
Rules of the road
The laws for each state may vary when it comes to when and where you are required to stop when a bus driver activates flashing red lights. In most cases, if you are directly behind or approaching a bus on an undivided, two-lane road, you must stop and wait until the flashing lights go dark and the stop arm recedes. Other times when the law requires you to stop for a school bus that has activated red lights include:
- When you are on a two-lane road with a center turn lane
- When you are on a four-lane road that doesn't have a median strip
- When you are following a bus on one side of a multi-lane divided highway
Even if it seems as if all the children are off the bus, if the lights are still flashing, you cannot pass. Additionally, passing on the right side of the bus is a recipe for tragedy. This is the side of the bus where children embark and disembark.
Seeking advice following your citation
Penalties can reach $1,000 if police see you violating any of these laws. Additionally, some counties in Georgia are installing cameras on the stop arms of their school buses. If you recently received a ticket for passing the flashing lights on a school bus, you may be facing a court appearance and points on your driving record. Points may lead to license suspension or hikes in your auto insurance rates.
While it may seem like a simple traffic violation, the consequences can cause major disruptions in your life. However, you have every right to legal representation at your court appearance. Having an attorney by your side will ensure your rights are protected and potentially reduce the penalties a conviction may bring.