School days bring congestion: Yellow school buses are picking up and dropping off students, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, and parents are trying to drop their kids off before work.
It's never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school. Schools often have very specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids. By exercising a little extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones. Below are some reminders about bus safety, rules, and regulations.
Know When to Stop:
- When the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended.
- Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red flashing lights are turned off, the stop arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they start driving again.
- When a school bus is stopped at an intersection to load and unload children, drivers from all directions are required to stop until the bus resumes motion.
- When driving on a highway with separate roadways for traffic in opposite directions, drivers must stop unless there is a grass median or physical barrier.
- A road that is a multi-lane or shared median, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) wanted to make drivers aware of the rules and penalties for improperly passing a school bus. Tennessee Law 55-8-151 addresses the overtaking and passing school busses while unloading/loading passengers and the penalties.
The Tennessee law states: The driver of a vehicle upon a highway, upon meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus that has stopped on the highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children, shall stop the vehicle before reaching the school bus, and the driver shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or is signaled by the school bus driver to proceed or the visual signals are no longer actuated. Subsection (a) shall also apply to a school bus with lights flashing and stop sign extended and marked in accordance with this subsection (a) that is stopped upon property owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution, if the bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children outside a protected loading zone.
It is a Class C misdemeanor for any person to fail to comply with any provision of this subsection (a) other than the requirement that a motor vehicle stop upon approaching a school bus.
It is a Class A misdemeanor punishable only by a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for any person to fail to comply with the provision of this subsection (a) requiring a motor vehicle to stop upon approaching a school bus.
Be alert and allow our children to arrive to and from school safely without harm.
Article Link on Tennessee School Bus Laws: https://www.tn.gov/safety/news/44405