Passing a School Bus

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Passing a School Bus

O.C.G.A. § 40-6-163 pertains to passing a school bus.  The law states that the driver of a vehicle meeting a vehicle from either direction must stop when the bus has its warning lights activated, when its stop sign is deployed, or when the arm on the front of the bus is deployed.  Vehicles must remain stopped until these visual cues are no longer activated or when the bus begins moving again.

However, drivers upon a highway “with separate roadways or a divided highway, including a highway divided* by a turn lane” do not need to stop to stop upon meeting or passing a school bus which is on a different roadway or on another half of a divided roadway, or upon a controlled-access highway when the school bus is stopped in a loading zone which is part of or adjacent to the highway and where pedestrians are not allowed to cross the road.

*It is notable that the wording of the law regarding who must stop for a school bus changed on July 1, 2018.

Potential Consequences of Illegally Passing a School Bus

Unlawfully passing a school bus is a misdemeanor offense in Georgia, meaning it carries a possible penalty of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $250.  It is one of the predicate offenses for a Felony Vehicular Homicide charge, meaning that causing a person’s death while illegally passing a school bus can lead to felony, rather than misdemeanor, Vehicular Homicide charges if a death results from the violation.

It is a 6-point offense, making it one of most serious driving offenses in Georgia.  See here for more information on the points system, and how a person can get points reduction.  It is important to note that a driver under 21 who illegally passes a school bus will immediately have his/her license suspended, even if the person’s driving record is otherwise perfect.

Why do you need an attorney?

If you are charged with illegally passing a school bus, you should call a Georgia Traffic Court Attorney immediately.  Especially given the recent changes in the law, you need someone who can evaluate your case and make sure that you get the best possible outcome in your case.  Judges, prosecutors, and police take these cases very seriously.  You need an attorney who will do the same.  Call me today.