It’s against the law to pass a stopped school bus

As the school year has started, the Albany County Traffic Safety Board has released these directives for students, parents, and motorists.

For school-bus riders:

Line up facing the school bus door — not along the side of the school bus.

Don't play in the street while waiting for the school bus.

Carry your belongings in a backpack or book bag.

Never reach under a school bus to get anything that has rolled or fallen underneath.

After getting off the school bus, move immediately onto the sidewalk, out of traffic.

Wait for a signal from the bus driver before you cross the street.  Walk at least 10 steps away from the front of the bus so that the bus driver can see you.

Never cross the street behind the school bus.

For drivers:

Yellow flashing lights on a school bus mean the bus is preparing to stop and load or unload children.  Motorists need to slow down and prepare to stop.

Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm mean the bus has stopped and children are boarding or exiting the bus.  Motorists must come to a complete stop a safe distance from the bus and wait until the bus begins moving before they may resume driving.

An estimated 50,000 motor vehicles illegally pass New York State school buses every day. It is illegal — and very dangerous — to pass a stopped school bus when the large red lights located on top of the bus are flashing. Flashing lights mean the bus is picking up or discharging students.

You must stop whether you are approaching the school bus from the front or overtaking it from the rear.

You must always stop for flashing red lights, even on divided and multilane highways and on school grounds.

The first-time fine for illegally passing a school bus is a $250 to $400 fine, five points on your license, and possibly 30 days in jail. For a second conviction within three years, the fine ranges from $600 to $750 with imprisonment up to 180 days. And, for a third conviction within three years, the fine ranges fro $750 t $1,000 with imprisonment again up to 180 days.

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