With summer drawing to a close and fall fast approaching, children will be heading back to school very soon. And that means lots of yellow school buses and flashing yellow lights in school zones. As drivers, it’s time for us to wake up from our summer slumber and pay closer attention while driving. We want to keep our kids safe, of course, but we also want to keep ourselves out of jail. That’s right – you can go to jail for up to 12 months if you don’t stop for a school bus or if you drive 20 miles per hour or more over the speed limit in a school zone! Both are considered reckless driving in Virginia and are class 1 misdemeanors punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
Virginia Code § 46.2-859 states that a driver must stop “when approaching, from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children . . . and shall remain stopped until all the persons are clear . . . and the bus is put in motion; any person violating the foregoing is guilty of reckless driving.”
Virginia Code § 46.2-862 states that “[a] person shall be guilty of reckless driving who drives a motor vehicle . . . (i) at a speed of twenty miles per hour or more in excess of the applicable maximum speed limit . . .”
So be careful! When you see a school bus stop with yellow lights flashing and a stop sign on the side of the bus, you have to stop and wait until the bus starts moving again. And when you see flashing yellow lights indicating a school zone, be sure to slow down! The speed limit in a school zone is usually 25 miles per hour, but sometimes it is even lower. So pay close attention.
Let’s make it a great school year for everyone!
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