It might seem obvious enough that you are supposed to stop your vehicle if you are approaching a stopped school bus with its lights on, however, with this new school year upon us, it seems as though many people are simply not stopping for school buses, placing children’s safety at issue, and at least one child was already struck in the vicinity of a school bus stop in Connecticut during this most recent school year.  A young child was also struck by a car at the end of the last school year and suffered injuries.  I have witnessed people failing to stop at my own children’s bus stops, which is a huge cause of concern to me and, therefore, it seems important that people understand the significance of failing to abide by the laws in our state in passing a school bus.

                General Statutes § 14-279 provides that operators of any vehicle or motor vehicle “shall immediately bring such vehicle to a stop not less than ten feet from the front when approaching and not less than ten feet from the rear when overtaking or following any registered school bus on any highway or private road or in any parking area or on any school property when such bus is displaying flashing red signal lights, except at the direction of a traffic officer.”  Additionally, “[a]t the intersection of two of more highways vehicular turns toward a school bus receiving or discharging passengers are prohibited.  The operator of a vehicle upon a highway with separate roadways need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus which is on a different roadway.”  A violation of this provision carries with it a fine of $450.00 for the first offense and, for each subsequent offense, not less than $500.00 nor more than $1,000.00 or imprisoned for not more than thirty (30) days.  A police officer can issue a written warning or summons based upon a written report from a school bus driver specifying the license plate number, color and type of any vehicle that violates this provision, along with the approximate time and location of the violation.  Some school buses within the state also have school bus monitoring systems, which are intended to record images of license plate numbers of motor vehicles, and warning signs should be posted on any buses that have these monitoring systems installed on them.  Clearly, if you violate these provisions and your vehicle strikes a child in the vicinity of a bus stop, then you will be facing even harsher penalties under the law. 

It seems like a good time of the year to remind people as to the significant penalties that could be assessed for failing to abide by Connecticut’s school bus safety laws and in the hopes of keeping children safe while walking to and from their bus stops.

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