Is a traffic ticket for passing a stopped school bus in New York State a bad violation? Yes! Courts take this offense seriously and enforce maximum penalties. This violation is discussed in two different sections of the law, NYS VTL §§ 1174-a, 375.20, and must be read together to get the whole picture.
A driver must stop for a school bus in either direction when:
1. the school bus is stopped on a public highway, street or private road and
2. engaged in picking up or dropping off passengers for transporting to/from
a. camp or camp activities
b. religious services or instruction
c. child care for children of migrant farm workers or food processing laborers
d. Students to/from school or school activities
e. Disabled persons when used by not-for-profit agency licensed by NYS or any state facility.
The laws goes on to discuss the requirement of flashing signal lights, bus signage – the color, height and width – and the color of the school bus itself.
Exception To The Law
Even if the above elements are true in your circumstances, there is an exception to the law. Again, generally, a driver cannot drive past a stopped school bus if the above elements are true. However, if a school bus is stopped a driver can drive past the bus if the school bus driver or police officer signals the motorist to pass the bus.
Penalties and Fines
A school bus violation carries five points. If a driver accrues 11 points in a year and a half his or her driving privileges will be suspended. Already have points on your record? Then the five points can trigger a driver responsibility assessment and a car insurance increase for the next several years.
Fines for a conviction range from $0 to $450 depending on whether it is a first, second or third offense. Plus, mandatory surcharges can be up to $93.00.
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