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Most drivers traveling Rockland County roads know that passing a stopped school bus that is picking up or discharging children is a violation of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. Getting a traffic ticket for violating the law could result in a fine and points against a driver's license.

Perhaps not as commonly known or understood by most motorists is that the law as it relates to a school bus violation is complex and applies to situations that a driver might not realize is a violation of the law. For example, the law could result in a person being cited for a moving violation if the stopped school bus is on private property or if the bus and the motorist are separated by a highway divider.

When approaching a vehicle marked as a school bus, and painted the yellow orange color associated with all school buses, a driver must come to a complete stop if the bus driver has activated the red flashing lights. Flashing yellow lights are a warning that the vehicle is slowing to stop to pick up or discharge passengers.

It does not matter from what direction the driver of a motor vehicle approaches a stopped school bus on a road or divided highway. If the bus is stopped and the red lights are flashing, passing it will probably result in a traffic ticket being issued. This includes a bus stopped on school property or in a parking lot.

The penalties for a school bus violation can be severe and start at $250 to $400 for a first offense. A third conviction in a three-year period could subject a motorist to a fine ranging from $750 to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

As informative as this post might be, it is not offered as legal advice. The information provided is no substitute for the legal advice that a driver charged with a moving violation should obtain from an attorney with knowledge of New York traffic violations.

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