12.2.13: Help for motorists to know when to stop for school buses
12.2.13: Help for motorists to know when to stop for school buses
Posted on 12/02/2014

 

 

 

 


As a general rule, a driver should not get any closer than 20 feet to a school bus that has stopped with red lights flashing. It is safe to proceed once the lights stop flashing.

 

Flashing red lights, a retractable red “STOP” paddle, and a crossing arm in front of the bus signal that the bus is either loading or unloading students.

 

The following are examples of when motorists, by law, must stop for a school bus:

 

Two-lane road

 

If a school bus comes to a stop on a two-lane road where there is one lane of traffic moving in each direction, both lanes of traffic traveling in both directions must stop. This rule applies in numerous locations throughout the district, including much of the stretch of the heavily traveled Shaw Road (see photo at top left).

 

Three-lane road

 

On three-lane roads, where there is one lane of traffic moving in each direction and a center turn lane, the vehicles behind the bus and those in the turn lane traveling the same direction as the bus must stop.

 

Vehicles traveling in the opposite direction can continue without stopping, including a vehicle in the center turn lane that is turning in front of the bus. An area of the school district where people often get confused about this rule is on 112th Street E., especially at the bus stop near 89th Avenue. Ct. E. near Costco (see photo at top right).

 

Four-lane road

 

When a roadway has four or more lanes with at least two of the lanes going in the opposite direction, only the vehicles in lanes traveling the same direction as the school bus need to stop for the red flashing school bus lights.

 

Two areas of the school district where people often get confused about this rule are along Sunrise Parkway and traveling up or down Meridian Street from the top to the bottom of the hill.

 

If a bus, for example, is stopped on Meridian Street in the right lane on the way up the hill, all cars traveling in the same direction behind it, both in the same lane as the bus and in the adjacent lane immediately next to the bus, must stop. Motorists driving down the hill in the opposite direction of the bus do not need to stop.

 

 

 

Tip to remember

 

When a driver gets confused about when to stop, McDaniel said it is easy to remember that the flashing red lights, “STOP” paddle, and crossing arm control the traffic lane that the school bus is in and the lane directly next to it.

 

Fines for drivers ignoring school bus red lights can be $300 or more.

 

Amber warning lights

 

Lights blinking in an alternating amber pattern help signal students and motorists that a bus is preparing to stop.

 

Bus drivers engage their amber lights between 100 and 300 feet from a bus stop on roads marked with 35 mph speed limits or less. They turn on the amber lights between 300 and 500 feet on roads with speed limits above 35 mph.

 

When buses arrive at bus stops, drivers switch from amber to red lights indicating a stop.

 

Tammy Sutton, the school district’s driver trainer, recommends motorists slow down, proceed with caution, and be prepared to stop when they see a school bus turn on its amber lights.

 

For additional safety information click here to view the 2014-15 Emergency Bulletin