Motorists Must Stop for School Buses
Late last year, an accident that claimed three young lives in Indiana raised awareness about the hazards children face getting on and off the school bus. The young siblings were struck by an oncoming vehicle as they walked across the street to the school bus. The driver was later charged with reckless homicide and a misdemeanor for passing a school bus with the stop arm extended.
This is not the only accident that fatally injured children in this way. In the past 32 years, more than 414 students were fatally injured while getting on or off the school bus. To prevent these devastating tragedies, drivers should become familiar with the law regarding school buses. In New Jersey, drivers who break the law when approaching or passing a school bus face steep penalties and potential jail time.
New Jersey Law
Laws for navigating near and around school buses vary from state to state, but this is the law in New Jersey:
- When traveling on a two-lane highway or any other type of road that is not separated by a physical barrier, you must stop at least 25 feet from a stopped school bus with its red flashing lights engaged. This applies to vehicles approaching the bus and those following behind it.
- When traveling on a divided highway, you are required to stop 25 feet from a stopped bus if you are on the same side of the bus. Remain stopped until all students have safely boarded the bus, have departed to the side of the highway, or until the bus turns its red flashing lights off.
- When approaching a stopped school bus while traveling on the opposite side of the highway, you must reduce your speed to 10 miles per hour and maintain that speed until you have completely passed the bus.
- When passing a stopped bus picking up or dropping off students at a school, camp, or similar location located on the same side of the highway as the bus, maintain a speed of 10 miles per hour until you have passed the bus.
It should be noted that bus drivers are equally responsible for preventing accidents. In addition to following basic traffic laws and bus safety procedures, bus drivers are required to engage red flashing lights when picking up or dropping off students and leave them on until every student is safely on the side of the highway.
Penalties for Passing a Stopped School Bus
For a first offense, a violation will cost you a $100 fine and potentially up to 15 days in jail or community service. Second-time offenders receive higher fines and possible jail time. Every offense adds five points to your driving record. When it comes to passing a stopped bus in New Jersey, the law is straightforward. Drivers who learn the law can easily prevent serious and fatal accidents. If you or a loved one was injured by a reckless driver, you deserve justice.
Piscataway Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Bus Accident Victims
If you were involved in any type of car accident, the Piscataway car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will work tirelessly to hold negligent drivers accountable for the pain they cause. Schedule a free consultation today to learn about your legal options after a car or bus accident by calling 732-537-8570 or contact us online. Based in Highland Park, New Jersey, we work with clients throughout the surrounding areas, including New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.