With the new school year well underway, it is important to be aware of school bus passing laws.
Although school buses continue to be the safest form of transportation, students are still in danger when they are in the school bus loading zone outside of the bus. It is against the law in all 50 states to pass a school bus that has its stop-arm extended and red lights flashing. Buses that are stopped in this way are picking up and dropping off students who may need to cross the street to get on or off the school bus. However, some motorists do not comply with the law and continue to drive past school buses even when they are stopped.
The illegal passing of school buses continues to be a safety issue, according to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPT), an association whose mission it is to provide safe transportation to school children. Due to the alarming number of illegal passings resulting in student fatalities, the NASDPT encourages each state to conduct its own one-day count of stop arm violations each year.
In the 2018 NASDPT survey on illegal passing of school buses, 108,623 school bus drivers participated. The study reveals that there were 83,944 total illegal passes observed throughout the country on a single day last year. For 38 states plus Washington, DC, there were:
The bus drivers also recorded whether the school buses were illegally passed from the front, rear, left, or right. The survey revealed that most buses were illegally passed on the left – this type of school bus passing accounted for 97.86 percent of all the illegal passes observed.
Pennsylvania motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from stopped school buses and wait until the red lights stop flashing and the stop arm has been withdrawn before proceeding. Those who violate school bus passing laws may be initially fined a penalty, with more serious consequences such as license suspension for subsequent violations. Additionally, those who illegally pass a school bus and injure a pedestrian as a result may be held liable for the injuries they caused.
If you or a loved one was injured in a school bus passing accident, contact a Philadelphia pedestrian accident lawyer at Galfand Berger LLP. Our experienced attorneys are here to review your case and help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 800-222-USWA (8792). We represent clients in Philadelphia, Reading, Bethlehem, Allentown, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and throughout New Jersey.