With the start of a new school year, bus stop safety should be on the mind of every driver in Georgia. Luckily, there are two Georgia statutes which very clearly spell out the law for all of us when it comes to school bus stop safety:
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-164: In a nutshell, this statute says that when a motorist sees children getting off the school bus, he/she MUST wait until ALL children who need to cross the roadway have done so safely.
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-163: This is a stern reminder to stop for the school bus stop arm UNLESS you are on a divided highway. In Georgia, a school bus driver who observes someone running the stop arm is AUTHORIZED and DIRECTED to record the facts (i.e., a description of the vehicle, driver, and the vehicle tag number), and report it to local law enforcement.
Keep in mind that passing a school bus is not only dangerous, but it is one of the most serious moving violations under Georgia’s traffic laws. If you are convicted of passing a school bus, it is a 6-point violation on your drivers’ license. To put that in perspective, consider the following: 1) A DUI will earn you 6 points; and 2) If you accumulate 15 or more points in a 2 years, your license will be suspended.
Not to beat a dead horse here, but if the points on your license do not faze you, perhaps a $300-$1000 fine and a potential 80% increase to your insurance premiums will!
If for no other reason, think of the children whose lives you would endanger by not following these rules of the road. Not that any family should ever have to care for an injured child, but personal injury cases involving children who were hit while entering or exiting their school bus are some of the most significant personal injury cases we handle.
When you see a school bus, remember that someone’s whole world is riding on that big yellow bus.
For more information about this article, contact Kaine Law.