School bus operations demand motorist attention

Motorists should be keenly aware of the risks that accompany the reopening of schools as more children use sidewalks and bicycle paths. But drivers also need to watch for buses transporting children to and from schools in the morning and afternoon.
Buses sometimes stop in travel lanes, requiring approaching vehicles to slow or stop.

The following rules apply to motorists as they approach a school bus:

  • Drivers must stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped to pick up or deliver school children if the bus displays flashing red signals. Flashing yellow lights indicate the bus is slowing to stop. Drivers should consider the flashing yellow school bus lights as they would a solid yellow traffic signal.
  • On a two-lane road, following and oncoming traffic must stop and remain stopped as long as the school bus displays flashing red lights and/or the stop arm on the drive’s side of the bus is extended.
  • On a highway with two or more lanes of traffic traveling in each direction, oncoming traffic is not required to stop when meeting a school bus. However, motorists still are urged to watch for children crossing traffic lanes while on their way to or from the bus.
  • Drivers also should use caution when traveling through school zones or near routes used by children and should observe school speed limits and the instructions of crossing guards.

Published 8-19-2011