Within the last week, there have been multiple fatal school bus accidents in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Florida. Children were hit while crossing the street to board their buses and while waiting at bus stops. Although school buses are considered the safest vehicles on the road by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), how effective are the laws surrounding loading and unloading of school buses?
What are the School Bus Safety Laws in Texas?
In Texas, it is illegal for a motorist to pass a school bus that is stopped and has its stop signals activated. Stop signals include red flashing lights and an extended stop-arm. It does not matter which direction a motorist is coming from. These stop signals indicate that children are present and are entering or exiting the school bus. Some children may need to cross the street to board or when exiting a bus. Therefore, oncoming traffic must also stop.
If caught illegally passing a school bus, a motorist could receive a misdemeanor and a $1,250 citation for a first offense. However, motorists do not have to stop if they are driving on a separate roadway.
Does Austin Have School Bus Safety Laws?
After receiving permission from the City of Austin in 2015, Austin Independent School District (AISD) launched a camera program in February 2016 to improve school bus safety for students. AISD encompasses 130 schools and more than 80,000 students in Austin and the surrounding areas.
AISD school buses have exterior cameras. The cameras record video and take pictures of vehicles that illegally pass a school bus when its lights are flashing red and its stop-arm is extended.
District law enforcement officers review the camera footage and pictures taken by the school bus cameras. If the footage is approved, the motorists who were caught illegally passing receive citations in the mail. Each violation results in a $300 civil penalty fine and can be contested.
You can find more information about AISD’s camera program on the AISD website.
Need an Austin Automobile Accident Attorney?
If your child was injured in an automobile accident, we recommend that you contact an automobile accident attorney as soon as possible. You may have a lot of questions about what to do next. At the Law Offices of Aaron Allison, we deal with the legal burdens of an accident so our clients can focus on healing. Call us today at (512) 474-8346 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Se habla español!