When do I need to stop for a school bus in Washington state?
When do I need to stop for a school bus in Washington state?

Source: Google News

If you don’t stop for a school bus, you could face a hefty fine.

SEATTLE — As students return to school across Washington state, drivers may want to brush up on the rules when it comes to school buses loading or unloading students. 

Drivers who violate the rules can face a $500 ticket, per state law.

So when is it OK for a driver to pass a stopped school bus with its stop-arm out?

When you should stop for a school bus

Drivers overtaking or meeting a stopped school bus that is picking up or dropping off students are required to stop before reaching the bus when there is a visual signal to do so. Drivers are expected to wait until the school bus begins moving again or there are no longer visual signals to stop.

  • Drivers traveling in either direction on a two-lane road
  • Drivers traveling in the same direction as a school bus with a turn lane in the middle (note: vehicles traveling in the opposite direction do not need to stop)
  • Drivers traveling in the same direction as a school bus if there is a median or island between opposing directions  (note: vehicles traveling in the opposite direction do not need to stop)
  • Drivers traveling in the same direction as a school bus on a road with three or more lanes (note: vehicles traveling in the opposite direction do not need to stop)

Some buses are also now equipped with cameras specifically installed to catch drivers who do not stop when a stop-arm paddle is out. 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the King County Sheriff’s Office issued thousands of drivers for failing to properly yield to stopped buses. Between January 2019 and October 2019, just over 4,500 tickets were issued within Seattle Public Schools district boundaries alone.

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