School is well under way in Virginia which means school buses are out in numbers. With all the starts and stops a bus makes, it may be tempting to go around them. However, there is a safe way to drive near school buses that keep kids safe and avoid unnecessary tickets and accidents.

Virginia law 46.2-844 provides the penalties for passing a stopped school bus. The driver in either direction who fails to stop while the bus is discharging or taking on children can face a fine of $250. Drivers must remain stopped until the roadway is clear of any person. This law applies beyond children to include the elderly and physically or mentally handicapped persons.

Local areas may also install video-monitoring systems in a specific area or on the school bus itself. These systems record violations of drivers. The local school division receives the civil penalties for driver’s violating these provisions.

There are safe ways to move around a school bus as outlined in Virginia Law 46.2-859. Drivers moving along a divided highway on the other side of the road do not need to stop when a school bus is loading and unloading passengers. If the bus is at the school and unloading or loading passengers, drivers do not need to stop on the roadway.

The state identifies school buses as only those painted yellow with warning devices and the required lettering. Should the driver be pulled over for reckless driving or failure to stop a school bus, the bus driver’s testimony may be used in a court of law.