The lights are flashing on the school bus and its stop arm or sign is extended. If you passed the school bus, even if its arm is not extended and lights flashing, but is still unloading or loading, you had better stop.
You are in danger of striking a child, hurting him badly or killing him. How would that feel for you? Even if you do not hurt anyone you are susceptible to a major violation and fine from local or state police.
According to Virginia law, “You must stop for stopped school buses with flashing red lights and an extended stop sign when you approach from any direction on a highway, private road or school driveway. Stop and remain stopped until all persons are clear and the bus moves again. You must also stop if the bus is loading or unloading passengers and the signals are not on. You do not have to stop if you are traveling in the opposite direction on a roadway with a median or barrier dividing the road and the bus is on the opposite side of the median or barrier.”
This is an extremely important law, but some do not know about it.
As mentioned above, if you pass as school bus illegally, it is considered a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
The Chesterfield County School Board (CCPS) has pushed for school bus mounted cameras that would record violations of the school bus passing law.
In 2013, during a 25-day pilot program, 50 buses were equipped with the cameras.
During the pilot program, buses mounted with cameras generated 14 tickets a day. In all of 2013, police wrote 30 school-bus-related tickets.
If cameras were mounted on all 620 buses in the county’s school bus fleet, it would equate to 168 tickets each day – 12 times the number of violations ticketed today.
On May 27 this year, the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to postpone a vote on the installation of cameras on school buses for 120 days, which would be their meeting at the end of September, three weeks after the start of the school year.