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What happens when someone passes a stopped school bus?

There have many devastating news stories about drivers passing school buses or not paying attention to a stopped school bus. Children almost always pay the price in these situations. That is why California has laws about stopping for school buses. Protecting children who are getting on or off a bus can only be done as a group effort. Drivers must pay attention and adhere to the law about stopped school buses.

California Legislative Information explains that when a school bus is at a stop and has its stop lights flashing and stop sign arm extended, all drivers on the roadway must stop. This includes drivers going in both directions. The only exception is on a road that is split in the middle with two lanes of traffic on each side. In that case, only the traffic on the same side as the bus must stop. Traffic cannot resume until the bus driver has turned off the stop lights and closed the stop sign arm. At that point, drivers may pass the bus as well.

If a driver passes a school bus while it is stopped, the driver may report it to law enforcement. You have 24 hours to report. If you make a report, you must include as many details as possible. Law enforcement needs the license plate number and a description of the vehicle and driver, if possible. If you provide the license plate number, law enforcement sends a warning letter to the registered owner of the vehicle. This information is for education. It is not legal advice.

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