School Bus Stop Signs
When Do You Stop for a School Bus?
Imagine it’s a beautiful, sunny South Carolina day and you’re enjoying a fresh breeze as you cruise along under a tree-covered canopy. You’re enjoying the drive when a school bus in front of you suddenly slows to a stop on the side of the road. What do you do? Do you swerve around it? Stop to make sure nobody is getting on or off and then continue on your way? Or park and wait for what will inevitably turn out to be a much longer stop than you anticipated? The answer may surprise you.
The Road Makes a Difference
Something that most drivers don’t realize is that the type of road they’re driving will make a difference in whether or not they have to stop. Drivers behind the school bus who see the flashing stop sign pop out on the side must always stop, no matter how many lanes wide the road is. Drivers coming from the opposite direction, however, only need to halt if the road has fewer than three lanes. Roads with up to two lanes require all drivers, regardless of direction, to stop for the school bus, but larger roads only interrupt the traffic flow on the bus’s side of the street.
How Long Must Drivers Stop?
So how long do you have to wait? Most drivers have been in the position of being stuck behind a school bus for much longer than seems necessary, but the law in this matter is very strict. Drivers are not free to pass once the stop sign has been retracted back to the bus’s side, but must wait until the bus starts moving. The only time when drivers are exempt from this rule is when crossing railroad tracks. While bus drivers are required to stop and check carefully before crossing, other drivers are allowed to pass as long as there is a passing lane.
How Important is This?
While this may seem to be a tiny aspect of driving law, traffic fines in South Carolina for violating this rule can be hefty. Offenses will add 6 points to a driver’s record and can carry a fine of more than $1,100. If it happens twice, the license points accrued will equal 12 and the driver’s license can be suspended. Officers are working to crack down on the many violators of this law by installing cameras to the sides of buses in the Fort Mill School District and stationing more policeman around various school campuses.