Recently there has been a lot of reporting in the mainstream media and discussion on social media about the inherent dangers involved in passing stop school buses. As part of our continuing “Check Your Speed” initiative in Clifton Park to raise awareness about traffic safety we felt now was a good time to remind drivers about the rules involved when a school bus stops with flashing red lights. The following is taken directly from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Driver’s Manual.
When a stopped school bus flashes its red light(s), traffic that approaches from either direction, even in front of the school and in school parking lots, must stop before it reaches the bus. You should stop at least 20 feet (6 m) away from the bus. You can identify this bus by a "SCHOOL BUS" sign, the red lights on the top, and its unique yellow orange color.
Before a school bus stops to load or discharge passengers, the driver will usually flash yellow warning lights. When you see them, decrease speed and be prepared to stop.
When you stop for a school bus, you cannot drive again until the red lights stop flashing or when the bus driver or a traffic officer signals the you can proceed. This law applies on all roadways in New York State. You must stop for a school bus even if it is on the opposite side of a divided highway.
After you stop for a school bus, look for children along the side of the road. Drive slowly until you have passed them.
Safety Tip: Most school bus-related deaths and injuries occur while children cross the street after being discharged from the bus, not in collisions that involve school buses.
Remember that vehicles that transport people with disabilities can be equipped as school buses and you must stop for them as you would for other school buses.
The fine when you pass a stopped school bus ranges from a minimum of $250 for a first violation to a maximum of $1,000 for three violations in three years. If you are convicted of three of these violations in three years, your driver license will be revoked for a minimum of six months.