ATLANTA—Students in Georgia will begin to return to school from summer vacation over the next few weeks. Georgia State Troopers are urging drivers to exercise caution when traveling in school zones and around school buses. “Motorists should always be attentive when driving around a school bus and observe the posted speed limit in school zones,” said Colonel Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
Drivers should be especially careful when traveling through school zones. School zones are marked with flashing lights or posted hours for reduced speeds. During the school year, troopers routinely patrol school zones watching for violations that can result in fatal crashes. Fatal crashes involving school buses occur most often when the driver of a smaller passenger vehicle strikes a school bus. “We urge drivers to leave more space around school buses, and to not cut them off in traffic,” added the Commissioner.
State troopers will be keeping a close watch for drivers who fail to stop for a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. Georgia law requires vehicles to stop when overtaking or meeting a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading passengers. Drivers traveling in both directions should stop for a school bus that is displaying its red stop lights and has the stop arm activated, except on a controlled-access highway or when the highway is divided into separate roadways. After stopping, the driver may proceed only when the school bus resumes motion or when the flashing lights are no longer activated.
Students waiting at bus stops may not always be alert to dangers around them. Drivers should be prepared to stop when approaching children waiting for a school bus, especially in early morning hours when visibility is reduced. “A conviction for unlawfully passing a stopped school bus carries six points on your driving record, and for drivers under the age of 21, passing a stopped school bus will result in a six-month suspension of your driver’s license,” Colonel McDonough added.