It is the beginning of August and that means that schools are starting back across the State of Georgia. Coweta County Students are back to school August 5th, 2019. With school back in session school busses will once again be filling our roads carry precious cargo. So, please, when you encounter a school bus, use proper caution.
When Do I have to Stop for the School Bus?
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-163 governs your responsibility upon encountering a stopped school bus. There are a couple of different scenarios where you may encounter a school bus.
Two-Lane Roadway: When a school bus stops, all drivers on both sides of the road must stop.
Two-Lane Roadway with a Center Turning Lane: When a school bus stops, all drivers on both sides of the road must stop.
Four-Lane Roadway without a Median: When a school bus stops, all drivers on both sides of the road must stop.
Four-Lane Roadway with a Center Turning Lane: When a school bus stops, all drivers on both sides of the road must stop,
Four-Lane Roadway with Median Separation: Only traffic following the bus must stop.
The lesson here is that you must almost always stop for a school bus. The only time you are permitted to keep going is when you are travelling the opposite direction of the school bus on a highway with a median (not a turn lane) separating the lanes of travel.
Penalties are Tough for Violators
If you are under 21 years old and you are convicted of passing a school bus when you shouldn't then you face an automatic license suspension. If you are at least 18, then you may be eligible for a limited permit, but it requires that the judge grant our special request.
Furthermore, a conviction for unlawful passing of a school bus will lead to a MASSIVE 6 points on your license!
School Bus Passing on Video - Civil Liability
Georgia law provides that folks caught passing a school bus on camera, but not by law enforcement can be assessed a $250 civil monetary fine. This "citation" must come first class mail from a law enforcement agency. It will name the date and time of the alleged violation as well as an image of you allegedly passing the school bus. It must include a certificate from one of the law enforcement officers that your actions were not otherwise unauthorized by law.
This is considered a civil violation and therefore it is different from when a law enforcement officer pulls you over and issues a ticket. The law is certainly murky in this area, but, importantly, when the citation comes in the mail like this it is not considered a moving violation for the purposes of putting points on your license.
Finally, if you received a ticket from an officer (you were pulled over), the law prohibits the state from seeking this civil fine in addition to your ticket.
Err on the side of caution. Stop for the school bus Look twice for little ones crossing the road.