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Personal Injury Lawyer

When to Stop for a School Bus in Georgia

School Bus Accident Lawyer Georgia

If you drive anywhere in metro Atlanta during the morning rush hour, chances are you will see someone illegally pass a school bus stopped or about to stop for children to load. Whether this is due to impatience or a misunderstanding of traffic laws, it is imperative drivers use caution when approaching a stopped school bus.

According to the NHTSA, 21 children die every year while getting on and off school buses. Earlier this year, an 8-year-old girl in DeKalb County was struck and killed as her mother carried her to the school bus while using a crosswalk.

For some drivers unfamiliar with bus stop laws, knowing when to stop can be confusing. A new law signed earlier this year adds to the confusion by loosening the rules for when a driver is required to stop.

House Bill 978 added the provision that says if there’s a turn lane dividing a road, opposite traffic does not have to stop for a school bus. Before the bill was signed into law, drivers had to stop on both sides unless there was a grass or concrete median dividing traffic.

School districts and the Georgia Association of Pupil Transportation worry about the uncertainty surrounding the new law will generate and the potential for it to cause more wrecks and make bus stops more dangerous.

The Georgia Association of Pupil Transportation hopes to fix the law’s language in next year’s legislative session.

If you’re unsure of when to stop or when to go, below are some helpful diagrams to illustrate what you should do.

Two-Lane Road

When the school bus stops for passengers, ALL traffic from both directions must stop.

Bus Accident Attorneys GA

Two-Lane Road With Center Turning Lane*

When the school bus stops for passengers, only traffic following the bus must stop.

Bus Accident Lawyers Atlanta

Four-Lane Road Without a Median

When the school bus stops for passengers, ALL traffic from both directions must stop.

Georgia Bus Accident Attorney

Road With Four Lanes or More With a Center Turning Lane*

When the school bus stops for passengers, only traffic following the bus must stop.

Atlanta Bus Accident Lawyer

Divided Highway With Four Lanes or More With a Median

When the school bus stops for passengers, only traffic following the bus must stop.

Bus Accident Lawyers Duluth GA

*Georgia law currently allows drivers on the opposite side of traffic to continue driving if there is a median or center turn lane between them and the school bus. Originally, only a grassy or concrete median meant a driver did not have to stop. The asterisks reflect the types of roads and situations affected by the new law.

When in doubt, slow down and watch for children and pedestrians who are near the road. Bus routes are designed so that most children do not have to cross a busy street to get home but children may decide to cross after the bus has gone.

The current version of the law will likely be up for discussion when the Georgia Legislature meets again in January 2019.

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