When Is It OK to Pass a Stopped School Bus on the Road?

Imagine you’re driving down the road when you encounter a school bus parked along the road. The area doesn’t look like a bus stop, and the bus is stopped a good distance ahead of the intersection. You know that New York has a law about this, so should you stop? When is it OK to pass a stopped school bus on the road?

As in other states, you can be ticketed for failing to stop for a school bus. While you will face a steep fine the first time around, this traffic violation can carry significant penalties if it’s your second or third moving violation. Let’s take a little closer look at this law and what you can do to avoid getting a ticket in the future.

When Motorists Must Stop for a School Bus

Knowing when it’s appropriate to stop for a school bus is crucial because there are specific conditions under which drivers must do so.

According to New York VTL § 1174(a), drivers on both sides of the road must stop their vehicles at least 20 feet before reaching a school bus when it has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging passengers and when at least one red signal light is flashing. Some school buses deploy a small red stop sign from the rear driver’s side of the vehicle as well.

It is only OK to continue driving when the bus begins moving again, the driver signals for other motorists to pass, or a police officer directs drivers to continue.

Why Do Drivers Need to Stop for School Buses?

The purpose for this law is to protect children who may cross the road after getting off of the bus or while running toward a stopped bus to get on. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles has said that most accidents involving a school bus happen when child pedestrians are leaving from or coming to a school bus.

Penalties for Failing to Stop for a School Bus

The following penalties may apply to those who are caught illegally passing a school bus:

  • Fist Conviction: Up to $400 in fines and/or up to 30 days in jail
  • Second Conviction (within three years): Up to $750 in fines and/or up to 180 days in jail
  • Third Conviction (or more) within three years: Up to $1,000 in fines and/or up to 180 days in jail

In addition to these penalties, five points will be added to the operator’s driving record for each conviction.

What Should I Do If I Am Ticketed?

If you have been cited for failing to stop for a school bus, you may be looking at potentially severe penalties. Reach out to our traffic law attorney for help – Stites Law may be able to help you avoid full responsibility when you are alleged to have failed to stop for a stopped school bus.

For more information, contact us online today.