It’s illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. Despite this, there are still drivers who don’t stop. To put an end to this, school districts are getting help from new technology to catch violators. Cameras that activate when the school bus stop sign arm extends are being installed on school buses. These cameras capture the license plate numbers of vehicles that illegally pass school buses. These vehicles are sent violation tickets in the mail with fines ranging from $78 - $250.
School bus violations
In most states, drivers are required to stay 25 feet away from a stopped school bus. However, in one poll, school bus drivers reportedly saw as many as 76,000 violations in one day! This makes 13 million violations a year. Authorities are encouraging drivers to make it a habit to stop for school buses. Police say that if you don’t know if you should stop or not, you should stop. Stopping will help prevent accidents involving school buses and the children on the buses.
School bus accident statistics
School buses are one of the safest forms of transportation for kids. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, taking a bus to school is 10 times safer than walking to school and 13 times safer than riding a passenger vehicle. The alarming news is that more children are hurt while outside the bus than while they are inside the bus. Every year, school buses transport around 24 million students and travel a total of 4 billion miles. In a span of 11 years, from 1994 - 2004, a total of 71 passengers died in crashes. Most of the victims in bus-related crashing, according to findings, were children four to seven-years-old.
Safety tips for drivers
- Be aware of school buses. School buses use yellow flashing lights to alert drivers that they are about to drop off or pick up kids. The red flashing lights and a stop sign arm are signals that a bus is currently stopped to load or unload children. Either way, make sure to stop.
- Maintain distance. Stay at least 10 feet away from a stopped school bus to give children time and space to safely load and unload.
- Be cautious. Kids tend to be unpredictable. Keep this in mind when driving with school buses and in school zones. Also, be extra observant of your surroundings.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I encourage all drivers to pay attention to school zones and school buses. These are lives of children we’re talking about, and we don’t want anyone harmed. We can prevent school bus accidents from happening. All we have to do is stop when we see a school bus with yellow or red flashing lights.