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Know the Law - Passing a Stopped School Bus back button

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School is back in session in the Douglas County School System. Please use caution when approaching a school bus and know the law regarding passing a school bus. According to Georgia law, vehicles traveling in BOTH directions must stop when a school bus activates its stop-arm on a two-lane road or a multi-lane road with no median or barrier. Vehicles traveling in the same direction as a school bus must always stop, but motorists traveling in the opposite direction can proceed (with caution) when there is an unpaved median or concrete barrier separating the opposing lanes.

As soon as you see a school bus, look for a warning that a bus stop might be nearby. The flashing yellow lights on the front and rear of the school bus will let you know that a stop is imminent. Vehicles should immediately slow down and prepare to stop. Children waiting to board a bus or exiting a bus can be very unpredictable. Once the bus is fully stopped, the flashing red lights will activate and the stop arm will deploy. Wait until all passengers have cleared the road and the stop arm as well as flashing lights have been deactivated.

Vehicles are not consistently protecting the safety of students and continue to illegally pass school buses. This is a national problem that was featured on ABC News on October 16, 2014 and was covered by other national media as an escalating problem. Click the link to see ABC’s coverage of the danger to students:

“Drivers must approach school buses with a keen awareness of safety for our children as they are picked up and dropped off,” said Douglas County Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz. “We are increasingly concerned about the illegal passing of our buses. Keeping our children safe is our number one priority. Our goal is to educate drivers about the Georgia School Bus Stop laws that protect the lives of the children who ride Douglas County school buses every day.”

“Please remember that if you come upon a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing while you are going in either direction and are unsure what to do, it is best to play it safe and stop until the red lights are turned off and the bus begins moving,” Pritz continued.

Douglas County school buses use CrossingGuard®, the trade name of the school bus arm safety solution that mounts purpose-built cameras on the side of the school bus. When the stop arm is deployed, the camera automatically detects a vehicle illegally passing the stop arm in either direction and captures video of the violation and still images of a vehicle‘s license plate.

The violation video and license plate images are then reviewed by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for approval prior to a citation being issued. In Georgia, the penalty for a first stop-arm violation will warrant the vehicle’s owner a $300 fine, a $750 fine levied for the second offense, and a third violation in a five-year period will result in a $1,000 fine. 

Douglas County School System • 9030 Highway 5, Douglasville, GA 30134 • Phone: (770) 651-2000 Copyright © 2018 Douglas County School System SCHOOLinSITES