Even if you don’t have kids or they’ve already graduated, you know when school is in session because of the sudden increase of buses on the road. It’s important to use the utmost care when driving near them, both for the children’s safety and your own.

New law helps protect students

One thing Georgia drivers may not be familiar with is the new law about stopping for school buses passed earlier this year. Senate Bill 25 requires drivers of both lanes to stop when a school bus is picking up or dropping off students, even if a turning lane divides the road. Cars will not need to stop if they are traveling in the opposite direction of the bus and a grass or concrete median separates the highway.

Not all drivers obey this law. One school district in Georgia equipped their buses with cameras to catch drivers who illegally pass while the vehicle is stopped for students to get on or off. Over 100 tickets were issued to those who broke the law.

Tickets aren’t the only punishment though. Unlawfully passing a school bus will put six points on your license, one of the highest punishments awarded. Any driver who gets 15 points within two years will have their license suspended.

Back to the basics

It can be helpful to refresh your understanding of bus safety now and again. Here are essential things to remember when driving near school buses:

  • Be prepared to stop. Buses will be picking up and dropping off students frequently; they may break with little warning.
  • Watch for kids jumping out. Students who are departing the bus may have to walk around the bus or cross the street. If children are getting on the bus, they may be running to get to it before it leaves.
  • Obey posted speed limits. When there’s a bus nearby, it’s extra important to watch how fast you’re driving. It makes it harder to stop or watch for kids, the quicker you’re moving. High speeds also make accidents worse.