Can You Pass a School Bus While Driving?

Can You Pass a School Bus While Driving?

Is It Illegal to Pass a School Bus in Georgia?

Under Georgia Code § 40-6-163, drivers must stop when they meet or overtake any stopped school bus on the highway before reaching the bus when the school bus’ lights and/or stop sign are in operation. Drivers cannot continue driving until the school bus’ lights and/or sin are deactivated or the bus begins moving again.

You can only continue driving when a school bus has stopped if there is a divider or median and you are on the opposite side of the road. Even if you are on a highway with a turn lane, you must stop unless you are separated by a grass or concrete median. It is also legal to continue driving past a school bus if the school bus is on a different roadway or controlled-access highway if the bus is in a loading zone or if pedestrians (including students) are not allowed to cross the roadway.

School bus drivers are legally directed to report unlawful passings. They are asked to submit the vehicle description, license plate number of the vehicle, and the time and place of the incident to the Department of Public Safety within 15 days of the supposed offense. Bus drivers can submit video footage or images taken with their bus equipment.

Do Georgia School Buses Have Cameras?

Yes, some school district buses have cameras installed on the stop signs. Specifically, cameras are installed in the following districts: Gwinnett County, Fulton County, Cobb County, and Clayton County. The goal of the cameras is to deter drivers from illegally passing buses and to catch any unlawful passings on camera to be used as evidence. The camera can also be used to enforce child safety (by deterring kidnappings).

Penalties for Unlawfully Passing a School Bus

If you are found to have illegally passed a school bus in traffic court, you can face the following consequences:

  • Up to a year in jail (or probation)
  • A hefty fine-- $300 for a first-time offense and $1,000 for third and subsequent offenses (within a five-year period)
  • Mandatory community service
  • Defense school driving
  • Other case-specific penalties set by the court hopes will correct the driver’s behavior

Contact Our Firm for Legal Help

At Balbo & Gregg, Attorneys at Law, PC, our attorneys are prepared to help clients understand their legal options and fight to protect their rights if they are charged with a traffic offense. With over four decades of collective experience, our traffic court attorneys can evaluate your case and help you develop a solid case strategy to ensure you get the best possible case results. Our firm also handles criminal defense cases, including DUI and drug offenses, which are often charges that clients face in connection with unlawfully passing a school bus.

Schedule a case consultation with our team today by calling (866) 580-3089 or completing our online contact form.