Q: When is it legal to pass a stopped school bus?

A: Despite what you may have heard, it is illegal, in all circumstances, to pass a stopped school bus. The law against passing school buses is meant to apply when the bus is picking up or dropping off children on the street, and the driver has either stopped in the middle of the street (either entirely or partially blocking the lane) or has pulled over to the curb. The bus has to be clearly marked as a school bus (i.e. painted bright, “school-bus yellow” and with the words “school bus” prominently displayed in the back), and the driver has to activate his signals or other warning devices (such as an unfurled stop sign).

So when are you allowed to pass a stopped school bus? It's worth quoting directly from the law: “The driver of a vehicle, however, need not stop when approaching a school bus if the school bus is stopped on the other roadway of a divided highway, on an access road, or on a driveway when the other roadway, access road, or driveway is separated from the roadway on which he is driving by a physical barrier or an unpaved area.The driver of a vehicle also need not stop when approaching a school bus which is loading or discharging passengers from or onto property immediately adjacent to a school if the driver is directed by a law-enforcement officer or other duly authorized uniformed school crossing guard to pass the school bus.” Any questions? Call the experienced traffic lawyers at Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC for a free consultation!