The school year has officially started meaning that we will now begin to see school buses across the state. However, early mornings and late afternoons can be a busy time for motorists who also are trying to get to their destinations as soon as possible with little to no interruption. However, it’s important that every driver obeys the school bus laws even if they're in a hurry. This includes the understanding what the flashing sign light on a school bus means:
- Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles. (2)
- Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again. (2)
As a Tennessee safe driver, it is important to be familiar with the laws that affect your children. Tennessee Law 55-8-151 addresses the overtaking and passing school busses while unloading/loading passengers and the penalties.
The Tennessee law states: The driver of a vehicle upon a highway, upon meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus that has stopped on the highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children, shall stop the vehicle before reaching the school bus, and the driver shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or is signaled by the school bus driver to proceed or the visual signals are no longer actuated. Subsection (a) shall also apply to a school bus with lights flashing and stop sign extended and marked in accordance with this subsection (a) that is stopped upon property owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution, if the bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children outside a protected loading zone. (1)
It is a Class C misdemeanor for any person to fail to comply with any provision of this subsection (a) other than the requirement that a motor vehicle stop upon approaching a school bus. (1)
It is a Class A misdemeanor punishable only by a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for any person to fail to comply with the provision of this subsection (a) requiring a motor vehicle to stop upon approaching a school bus. (1)
In other words, all traffic must stop while the school bus is parked, picking up or dropping off students. Illegally passing during that time puts students at risk! For more tips on how to keep your child safe, click here.
Activities for both you and child to complete together:
Click the image below to watch a quick video on Back to School Road Safety tips!