The law surrounding school buses is very clear — all drivers must stop whenever the driver has the stop hazard sign activated. However, although the law is clear, it does not mean that there is a bit of grey area that can leave some drivers left with a traffic citation. If you have been cited for this violation, learn more about what you may be up against.
More About the Facts
In terms of the grey area, a common point of conflict surrounds the idea that a driver is only obligated to stop when they are on the same side of the road as the children exiting the vehicle. However, the law states that every vehicle must stop, no matter the side of the road, even if there are not any children exiting the bus. Fortunately, school buses often have dash cameras installed inside. Have your traffic violation lawyer review the footage if you have questions about whether or not you actually violated the law to see if there is evidence that proves otherwise.
There May Be Long-Term Consequences
If you are convicted of this crime, the consequences of this conviction can be lengthy, particularly if you are a repeat offender. When a person who was previously been charged with failure to stop for a school bus is charged with the same crime again, a judge has a right to suspend their license. How long the suspension lasts can vary based on additional factors, such as the speed at which the person was traveling at the time they failed to stop, as well as whether or not there were children present at the time. However, a violation of any length can be a major inconvenience.
Non-Traditional Punishment is an Option
With most traffic violations, the defendant can expect to pay a fine and possibly lose some of their driving privileges, such as those listed above. However, for violations that put the health and safety of children at risk—the court does not take it lightly. For this reason, judges have the option to pass down non-traditional punishment, such as community service at the school for which the violation occurred.
It is also worth noting that sometimes, these penalties can be passed down in place of a financial penalty, but it will take an attorney to have this sort of positive outcome. Make sure you have legal representation. If you have been charged with this violation, make sure you speak to an attorney for the best possible outcome.