When approaching a school bus that has stopped and has flashing red lights on, cars traveling in the same direction are prohibited from passing the bus until the flashing lights are turned off. Cars approaching from the opposite direction must also stop, unless there is a physical barrier, such as a median. Unfortunately, too many drivers either ignore this law, are unaware that they are supposed to stop, or are too distracted. In addition to incurring hefty fines, this can have serious consequences if a car attempts to pass the bus before children have had a chance to safely cross the street.
In Montgomery County, close to 11,000 drivers were caught driving past stopped school buses between October 13, 2016 and March 31, 2017. The Montgomery County Automated School Bus Camera Program captured these violations over the course of 169 days–an average of 65 violations per day. Out of a total of 1,307 school buses countywide, 217 are equipped with cameras. By the end of December, that number will increase to 500. Unfortunately, this is in response to the number of drivers who are not following the school bus law.
The fine for passing a school bus is $125 if the violation was caught by the school bus camera, but this is expected to increase to $250, effective October 1, 2017. If a police officer witnesses a car passing a bus, the fine is $570, which includes a three-point citation. According to Police Captain, Tom Didone, it is alarming how widespread the problem is. This problem does not just occur on a major arterial roadway. Children should be able to safely cross the street after departing from a school bus without the fear of getting hit by a car because the driver did not obey the law.
Know the Rules When Approaching a School Bus
Soon summer will be coming to a close, and motorists will once again be sharing the road with school buses. All licensed drivers are responsible for knowing what to do when they approach a school bus that has stopped with its lights flashing.
When a school bus has stopped and its lights are flashing, drivers from both directions must stop. It is against the law to pass a school bus when the flashing lights are on and the stop sign on the vehicle is extended.
Never pass on the right side of a bus where children enter and exit the vehicle.
On two-lane roads, including those with center turn lanes, traffic in both directions must stop when a school bus picks up or drops off students.
On four-lane roads without a center turn lane, traffic in both directions must stop when a school bus stops for passengers.
On divided highways with four or more lanes with a center median, only traffic following behind the school bus must stop.
Baltimore Car Wreck Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims Injured in School Bus Accidents
If your child has been seriously injured in a car accident involving a driver who failed to stop for a school bus, contact the Baltimore car wreck lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. If the stopped school bus had its lights flashing and the stop sign extended when the car passed the bus, we will hold the driver accountable for their actions and pursue the maximum financial compensation to which you are entitled. To schedule a free confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.