Georgia law places a duty on Georgia’s drivers to come to a stop and remain stopped when approaching a school bus that has activated its caution lights and extended its stop arm. You must stop if you are approaching the bus from either direction on a roadway not separated by a median. If you are on a roadway separated by a median, you must stop if you are on the same side of the road as the stopped school bus. If you are on the opposite side of the road from the bus, and that road is separated by a median, you do not have to stop.
If your vehicle is recorded passing a stopped school bus, you will be fined $300 for the first violation, $759 for the second violation, and $1,000 for each subsequent violation in a five-year period. You will also have 6 points placed on your license.
The dangers of passing a stopped school bus are obvious. But, according to a study conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS), of 12,444 buses reporting, 7,619 illegal passes were recorded. The troubling thing about this statistic is that it is from a single day of reporting.
On March 16, 2015, a seventeen year old student in Douglas County who was boarding a school bus was hit by a driver who was passing the school bus illegally. The driver left the scene of the accident and was later arrested. If the student died, the driver could have been charged with homicide by vehicle in the first degree and would have faced three to 15 years imprisonment.
In April of 2015 a reckless driver of an SUV in Washington state narrowly missed three children as it speed passed a stopped school bus. The driver passed the school bus on the shoulder of the road. ABC news rand this story and the video was captured on video tape. These children narrowly escaped severe injury and possibly death because of a negligent and reckless driver.
When it comes to our children’s safety, negligence is not an option. These laws protect our children and should be followed. Pay attention while you drive and stop when approaching a stopped school buses.