Tuesday, December 14, 2010

School Bus Stopping Laws & Precautions

Jurisdictions in the United States (including overseas territories) and Canada have adopted various school bus stop laws that require drivers to stop and wait for a stopped school bus loading or unloading, so as to protect school children boarding or alighting.

Generally, a driver of a vehicle meeting or overtaking, from either direction (front or back), a stopped school bus flashing alternating red lamps must stop and wait until the bus moves again or the red lights are off.[1] Police officers, school crossing guards, and even school bus drivers themselves may have the power to wave traffic on, even when red lights are flashing.

On divided highways, most American and Canadian jurisdictions do not require vehicular drivers to stop when on the opposite side of the road from a stopped school bus. Those that do require vehicles to stop are:

* West Virginia upon a non-controlled-access highway
* Arkansas in case a divider has less than 20 feet
(6 m) in width (narrow divider)
* Mississippi
* New York State
* American Samoa
* Guam
* British Columbia
* Nova Scotia
* Prince Edward Island
* Northwest Territories
* Nunavut

American and Canadian jurisdictions have sought to deter illegal passing stopped school buses by increased enforcement and heavy penalties, including fines, application of demerit points against a driver's license or even license suspension. Nevertheless, violations are common.

An officer must witness the violation, and even when citations issued, getting convictions is often difficult; sometimes traffic courts consider the evidence insufficient, or reduce the charge because the penalty for a first offense seems excessive.

Thanks to Wikipedia.org


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