School’s Back in Session—Do You Know the Rules?

With the start of school comes the need to be on the lookout for school buses and the children riding them. South Carolina State Troopers are out in force, ensuring that drivers stop for buses and obey related rules of the road. Lance Cpl. Matt Southern with SC Highway Patrol warns drivers, “Areas around our schools are going to become a little more congested with cars, pedestrians, people riding bicycles. It’s time to get in our minds that, hey, school is back in session.”

Study the Signs and Obey the Laws

Yellow flashing lights mean a bus is about to stop, so it’s prudent to be ready for it. Red flashing lights mean the bus is actively stopping and call for immediate braking. Do you know when you are supposed to stop for school buses? The South Carolina laws regulating when you, the motorist, must stop for a school bus are as follows:

  • If the bus in front of you is stopping, you must stop. Any passing on either side of the bus is illegal and dangerous.
  • If you are on a two-lane road and the school bus approaching you (in the oncoming lane) is stopping, you must stop.
  • If you are on a four-lane road, with or without a median, and the school bus approaching you is stopping, you do not have to stop.

If you don’t follow the laws, be aware that the penalties are stiff, amounting to fines of over $1,000, up to 30 days in jail, and 6 points on your license, even for a first offense. Licenses in SC are suspended once you hit 12 points.

Another thing to watch out for is a school bus stopping at railroad crossings. They are required to do so by law, even if they are not loading or unloading kids.

Some Things to Think About

If you won’t slow down for the kids, would you do it for yourself?

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 134 adults and children die in crashes each year involving school vehicles. Of those fatalities, 8 percent are on school buses. Pedestrians, bike riders, and others outside the buses amount to 21 percent of the fatalities.

But nearly three-fourths—71 percent—of the fatalities are the people in the non-bus vehicles. Children are, according to statistics, safer inside a bus than in a passenger vehicle.

As we all get back on the road this school year, here are some points to keep in mind:

  • There are four danger zones around a bus: in front of it, behind it, and on either side. All of them have blind spots that can put children in danger.
  • Take your time on the road, especially during back-to-school periods at the beginning of the school year and before and after holiday breaks.
  • Pay attention to reduced speed limits in school zones, and obey the law.
  • Watch out for kids darting between buses and other vehicles.

Hands-on help. Exceptional results.

The Louthian Law Firm has represented injured South Carolinians in personal injury suits since 1959. With our firm on the case, you can rest assured that you’ll receive the personalized attention you deserve. If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a school bus or other vehicular accident, or any accident where another person has been negligent, it’s important to make sure that you understand your legal rights. Personal injury cases require a thorough investigation by an experienced legal team to determine which individuals and companies should be named as defendants and which legal theories should be pursued. South Carolina law can be complex, and there is a deadline for filing a claim. As the initial consultation is always free, reach out to us at the Louthian Law Firm today by calling us at 803-454-1200, or by filling out our online contact form.