Can I Get a Ticket for Passing a School Bus?

We all want our school children to be safe which is why traffic laws have been enacted in the state of New York giving special protection to school buses and their passengers. The law covering this issue is NY VTL Section 1174(a) called “Failure to Stop for a School Bus.” Passing a school bus that has stopped and is flashing its red lights is thus unlawful and can lead to a traffic ticket that has serious penalties. While you can be directly ticketed by a police officer at the scene, you may also find yourself ticketed through the mail after a school bus camera captures your image committing this traffic offense.

Not all traffic tickets have to lead to fines and/or demerit points on your driving record. With the help of an experienced traffic ticket attorney, you can fight back in court. Stites Law is a traffic ticket defense law firm serving clients in the New York City area that has a proven track record of success in this field. Our 90 percent success rate speaks for itself.

What Does the Law Say About Passing a School Bus?

When a school bus stops and flashes its red lights, that is a signal that children will be entering or exiting the bus. Prior to this the bus driver may flash yellow warning lights. Flashing yellow lights are meant to alert drivers that they will soon have to stop when the red lights flash and the bus comes to a halt. All traffic on both sides of the roadway must stop at least 20 feet from the bus in the presence of the flashing red lights, even on a divided road. This is because children may also cross the road after exiting. According to the DMV, the majority of fatalities and injuries related to school buses happen while children cross streets and roadways, not through collisions.

Penalties for Failure to Stop for a School Bus

Count yourself lucky if you fail to stop for a school bus when you were not aware of this law because the penalties can be severe.

They can include:

  • A fine of $250 up to $400, five demerit points added to your driving record, and a potential 30-day jail sentence for a first conviction
  • A fine of $600 up to $750, five demerit points on your driving record, and a potential 90-day jail sentence on a second conviction occurring within three years
  • A fine of up $750 up to $1,000, five points on your driving record, a potential jail sentence of up to 180 days, and six-month suspension of your license on a third conviction occurring within three years

Ticketed by Mail?

Governor Cuomo signed a newly created law that went into effect in September of 2019 allowing New York cities and counties to install cameras on buses that can catch offenders of this law. If you pass a school bus that has a camera installed, it will take a photo of your car and your license plate. You will then get a ticket in the mail for violating this law. These types of tickets result in monetary fines only that include $250 for a first ticket, $275 for a second ticket within 18 months, and $300 for each subsequent ticket you get within the same 18-month timeframe. You can also be charged a late fee if you fail to pay your fine on time.

Talk to an Attorney at Stites Law About Your Traffic Ticket

Paying your ticket, accruing points on your record, and facing a possible license suspension when accruing too many points does not have to be a foregone conclusion. Our firm is a dedicated traffic ticket defense law office that is committed to fighting for your rights, giving you your day in court, and fighting for a fair outcome to your case. Our high success rate of “not guilty” verdicts reflects our knowledge of the law, courtroom skills, and tenacity in defending our clients.

Need a review of your case? Contact a NYC lawyer at (212) 729-0472 or online for your no-obligation free consultation today.