Georgia Laws About School Buses & School Bus Safety

Georgia has specific traffic rules for when drivers approach a school bus stopped on the side of the road. Specifically, if a school bus has flashing lights and/or its stop arm extended off the side of the vehicle, drivers need to pay extra attention to the road around them and may need to come to a complete stop until the bus moves again.

There are five scenarios described in Georgia’s school bus stop laws:

  1. Two-lane street: Traffic on both sides of the road must stop completely.
  2. Four-lane with no median: Traffic on both sides of the road and in all lanes must stop completely.
  3. Multilane highway with median: Traffic behind the bus must stop completely.
  4. Two-lane street with center lane for turning: Traffic in all directions and all lanes must stop completely.
  5. Multilane road with center lane for turning: All traffic in all directions and all lanes must stop completely.

As the aforementioned list of rules note, all drivers must come to a total stop in nearly all scenarios. This is due to the fact that children stepping off a school bus may attempt to cross the street without warning. Failing to stop for a school bus when it is loading or unloading passengers, flashing its lights, or using its stop arm can slam a driver with a high fiscal penalty and misdemeanor charges.

Safety Hints for Driving Near a School Bus

At some point, you are probably going to come across a school bus when driving around your hometown or city. To keep yourself and children that may be riding the bus safe, there are a few basic driving tips that you should know. Be sure to review them and share them with friends and family as you see fit.

When you see a school bus ahead on the road:

  • Check all your mirrors and blind spots for adjacent traffic.
  • See if the bus is flashing its lights.
  • Come to a complete stop when required by law – remember that flashing lights and/or use of the stop arm means you need to stop in most situations.
  • Do not move your vehicle until the bus begins moving again as well.
  • You may want to slow down to a safe speed if you do not need to come to a total stop.
  • Never pass a stopped school bus on the right side, no matter what lights or stop arms are being used or not being used.

If you have children, share with them these easy-to-remember safety tips:

  • Until you are ready to board the bus, you should stay “three big steps” away from the bus – or 6 feet if your child understands empirical measurements.
  • Do not enter a bus until it has completely stopped and the bus driver allows you to enter – don’t be afraid to ask them if it is safe to board the bus.
  • Before stepping on or off a bus, look both ways out the door to make certain no cars are approaching.
  • When you step off a bus, move away from it – “three big steps” – as soon as it is safe.
  • Do not stay near a bus, even when it is not moving. If you need to walk behind the bus or pick up something next to it, talk to the bus driver first for permission.

At Ross Moore II, P.C., we want everyone to be safe and sound in our communities, but we know that sometimes negligent parties cause accidents. If your child was hurt by a driver while boarding or stepping off a bus, contact our attorney. Learn how you can seek compensation that helps set things right and restore your family’s peace of mind. We offer free case evaluations to prospective clients.

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