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Is It Legal to Pass a School Bus?

stopped school bus with the stop sign extended

Texas School Bus Safety Laws

The rules for passing a stopped school bus in Texas are very specific. If you’re caught violating them, you could end up paying some hefty fines and even a license suspension. This back-to-school season, take care to understand these laws and the penalties you may acquire.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, on any road, drivers must stop when they approach a school bus from either direction if the bus is displaying flashing red lights and has extended its stop arm. The only exception to this rule is if there is a physical barrier, such as a concrete median, separating oncoming traffic from the lane in which the bus stopped.

Drivers must remain stopped until the bus’ red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is no longer extended, and the bus begins moving again.

Penalties for Breaking This Law

If failing to stop for a school bus in Texas, first offenders could be fined up to $1,250, and repeat offenders may also face a license suspension for up to 180 days. If you pass a school bus while it is unloading children and someone is injured or killed as a result, you could be charged with a felony and face up to two years in jail.

Why is Passing a School Bus Dangerous?

Not only is passing a school bus illegal in Texas, but it’s also incredibly dangerous. When children are getting on or off the bus, they may not be paying attention to traffic and could easily walk into the street without looking. In other instances, they may have to cross in front of the bus to reach their destination. If you’re speeding by, there’s a good chance you won’t have time to stop if someone wanders into your path.

In addition, school buses do not have seat belts, so if there is an accident, children can be ejected from their seats and seriously injured. Even if no one is hurt when you pass a stopped school bus, you could still end up causing property damage if you hit the bus or any of its passengers.

Our Waco and Austin attorneys are dedicated to keeping your loved ones safe this back-to-school season. For legal assistance regarding a personal injury, call (254) 938-6885.