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Are you a new driver and need more information on whether you can get a ticket for passing a school bus? 

Most motorists and new drivers tend to forget the law of school buses, which puts them on the wrong side of the law.

Passing a school bus with flashing red lights is a severe offense in the US. You have no reason to pass it since it has signals flashing in all directions to ensure all cars stop.

Additionally, there are heavy fines for passing a school bus, and stopping until the bus starts moving is vital. Let’s learn more about passing a stopped school bus. Read on.

What Are the Consequences of Passing A Stopped School Bus?

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First, when the school bus stops, it increases the blind spots and requires extra space to maneuver than standard vehicles.

When driving during your road test, your examiner expects you to stop when you come across a school bus. You will face heavy penalties if a traffic officer pulls you over for a school bus violation.

Here are the penalties for passing the stopped school bus

If found guilty with a second conviction within three years, the fine can go up to $700 alongside a 180 days jail sentence. For a third conviction in three years, the fine moves up to $1000 and 180 days jail term.

In 2019 there was a law to authorize school municipalities and districts to use stop-arm cameras that help impose penalties on vehicles that pass stopping school buses when the red lights are flashing.

The first violation has a penalty of $250, the second one within 18 months is $275, while the third violation or extra one will earn you a fine of $300.

The Risk of Failing to Stop When Approaching A Stopping School Bus

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According to The Department of Pupil Transportation, the youngest students are at stake when school bus fatalities occur. Mostly the kids are aged between 4 and 8. Although they are less than 35% of the student’s statistics, they show that 69%  are affected by the fatalities.

Why the young kids? First, they will likely run after alighting the bus and encounter a speeding driver that doesn’t recognize the school bus law. Additionally, their small stature makes controlling them more challenging; motorists and bus drivers may fail to see them.

What to Do When Near A School Bus

1. Slow Down

It’s the most obvious thing to do when seeing a school bus from a distance. Drive at a reasonable speed even if it means getting lower than the school zone limit plus, you should be patient when moving near the bus.

Stay alert

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Distracted driving puts you at a higher risk of colliding with the school bus or hitting a crossing student. Ensure you are alert to check the children and parents waiting to pick up their kids or those running after the bus before it departs.

2. Come to A Complete Stop

Some drivers make rolling stops when approaching school buses, which is risky and against the law. Ensure you make a complete stop when 20 feet from the school bus to reduce any chance of fatalities.

3. Be Careful Before Moving

Once the bus shows the green lights, you are free to move. Ensure no children are walking in front or on the sides of the school bus. Also, don’t get carried away by bus and forget to check for pedestrians at the crosswalks.

4. Give Right of Way

When there is a stopping school bus with red light flashes, vehicles in traffic approaching from every direction must stop either on a two-lane road, multilane, or divided highway.

5. Check the Flashlights

The red flashlights from a school bus mean it has stopped picking up or dropping off school children, and you must stop until the bus starts moving or the driver signals you to proceed.

Yellow lights indicate the bus’s intention to stop loading or unloading the kids, allowing you to prepare for a complete stop.

Do School Bus Designs Affect Safety?

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School bus designs ensure the safety of children more than other passengers’ vehicles to prevent injuries and crashes. The stop-arm laws will protect children from other drivers and motorists.

The buses are highly visible, with red lights, stop sign arms, and cross-view mirrors as safety features. The high crush standards, rollover protection features, and protective seating in the bus protect your kids from accidents.

Large school buses are heavier and distribute the crash than other vehicles, and light trucks for less force during crashes. The compartmentalization in the bus ensures the kids are safe without buckling up with the closely spaced and energy-absorbing seats.

Small school buses that weigh 10000 pounds or less should have a lap or shoulder belts on the seating positions for occupant protection.

Do NY School Buses Have Cameras?

Yes. New York is among the states that took the first steps of allowing stop-arm cameras after local authorities’ authorization.

Do School Bus Cameras Record All the Time?

The cameras are always on and will remain continuously activated to ensure kids’ safety. all the exterior cameras remain active to curb stop-arm violations.

The footage can stay up to seven days inside and outside the bus for safety surveillance. When a violation happens, you need to send the footage to the local police for action to be taken.

What Happens If I Don’t Pay a School Bus Camera Ticket in New York?

The tickets are civil, and as long as they aren’t criminal, they may send a collection agency to get the payment. You will get several warnings for failure to pay, and the fine may double.

Final Thoughts

Can you get a ticket for passing a school bus? Well, yes. It would help to stay alert when driving in a school bus zone to avoid causing fatalities. It’s against the law to pass a stopping bus with flashing red lights, which can earn you a fine requiring you to dig deeper into your pocket.

Our driving instructors emphasize the importance of slow driving in school zones and ensure you have the right skills to drive in the zones. Book a lesson with us and get the best experience behind the wheel.