School Bus Right of Way Accidents

School Bus Right of Way Accidents

During the school year, school buses carry our children to and from school or to athletic and other school-sponsored events. To help maintain their safety, every state has laws governing the right-of-way when school buses are present including what motorists should do when a bus is picking up or discharging students

Right-of-way laws dictate that motorists must stop when behind or approaching a stopped school bus on a non-divided highway. Only a few states allow you to pass a stopped school bus only so long as there are 3 or 4 lanes, depending on the law, between the car and the bus.

The majority of states allow traffic in opposing traffic lanes to pass a stopped school bus with lights flashing on a divided highway. Only 4 states still require motorists to stop on divided highways, most notably New York. On any 2-lane roadway, all vehicles must stop when the vehicle has its flashers operating.

Depending on the state, a violation of the school bus passing law may only be a fine or multiple points on your driver’s license. If you injured someone by failing to stop, you might face criminal as well as civil liability.

At an intersection, most drivers understand that you proceed in the order in which you arrived. If you arrived at the same time, then most laws grant the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right-hand side. A common practice at intersections is a car behind the one that is proceeding into the intersection follows that car and does not stop. This failure to stop at a stop sign can easily cause an accident.

At crosswalks, all vehicles must obey the laws when pedestrians are crossing. In California, for instance, motorists are required to stop when the pedestrian has a green light and not to proceed until the person is at least half-way across or out of harm’s way. If the intersection has no light, then motorists usually must stop when the pedestrian enters the crosswalk, though the pedestrian must also exercise caution when doing so.

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