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School Bus Safety

August 8, 2013
A school bus stops to let students out.

The start of a new school year is here. While students get ready to see classmates and brush up on their reading and math skills, parents prep to purchase school supplies during this weekend's sales tax holiday. These families aren't alone in needing to get ready for school, though.

Drivers, as students head back to classes in the next few weeks, keep in mind that you'll need to slow down for buses and school speed zones.

What You Should Know About School Buses

In the past year, state officials have inspected close to 20,000 school buses to ensure child safety. While you might think that school buses aren't as safe as family vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds the opposite. "Riding on a school bus is the safest way for your child to travel to and from school," NHTSA notes.

While the school bus itself is safe, the 10 feet in front, behind and on each side of a stationary school bus constitute a danger zone. When you're driving on a road without a median, and you see a school bus pull to a stop and flash its signals, make sure you come to a complete stop as well. Regardless of the side of the street you're on, brake and watch for students crossing to their homes. Before you start driving again, wait until the bus starts moving or stops flashing its signals.

When you drive on a broader roadway with a median, and you're on the opposite side of that median from the school bus, you can continue driving without pausing.

If a school bus driver reports you've passed a bus improperly, you'll be fined $300 for a first offense, $750 for a second offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense during a five-year period. Law enforcement will send the fine by mail within 10 days, and the fine will indicate the time, date and location of the violation. You'll also rack up six points on your driving record for each violation.

You can learn more about school bus safety and violations by visiting the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

About the Author

GeorgiaGov Writer Noralil Ryan ForesNoralil Ryan Fores writes about business, taxes, elections and the environment for GeorgiaGov. She's a graduate of Florida State University's film school and Syracuse University's journalism program.