Personal Injury Lawyer Atlanta, Georgia

When to Stop for a School Bus in Georgia

School Bus Accident Lawyer Georgia

*This post has been updated to reflect revisions to the new law that went into effect on February 18, 2019.

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. In 2018, 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 in 2018 added 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.

The law was recently fixed during the 2019 legislative session. The updated Georgia school bus law went into effect on February 18, 2019.

When to Stop and When to Pass a School Bus

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, ALL traffic from both directions must stop.

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, ALL traffic from both directions must stop.

Divided Highway With Four Lanes or More With a Median (Concrete or Grass)

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

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When you see a bus, 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.

Penalties and Fines for Ignoring School Bus Laws

Those who ignore the law and put children and pedestrians in danger when a school bus is loading or unloading students may face:

  • A court appearance
  • A fine ranging from $250 to $1,000.
  • Six points on your license.
  • If under 21 years of age, your license will be suspended.
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