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A Look at the Laws Regarding Passing School Buses

In a rush, and pondering passing a stopped school bus in Virginia? It may be time to think again!

Unless you’re looking to add a reckless driving charge to your record, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution if you’re not sure whether the law requires you to stop. It probably does! In Virginia, when you pass a stopped school bus, you can be charged with reckless driving, just as if you had been speeding or weaving in and out of traffic to pass other vehicles. This is true whether the bus is stopped to pick up or drop off students, the elderly, or the mentally or physically handicapped. When you see a stopped bus, you MUST stop.

There are some exceptions to the law, but it is important to be aware of the rules in the particular state in which you are driving, as they may differ. In Virginia, the exceptions to stopping for school buses include when:

• the school bus is stopped on the roadway at the other side of a divided highway, access road, or driveway that is separated by a physical barrier or unpaved area

• a law enforcement official is actively directing motorists to pass the school bus.

The penalty for a guilty charge of reckless driving, which is categorized as a class 1 misdemeanor, can be up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500. While there are fourteen different types of reckless driving classifications, the general definition for what constitutes reckless driving is when an individual operates a vehicle on any roadway recklessly, or at a speed or in a manner that could potentially endanger the life, limb, or property of another person. That said, there are many different ways to achieve this bad mark on your driving record, including failure to yield to the right of way, failure to give proper signals, running stop signs, speeding, and yes, passing school buses!

Regardless of what infraction may have gotten you into a reckless driving charge, we can help you to determine the best way to proceed, from a legal point of view. If you are facing any type of reckless driving charge in Virginia or Maryland, contact our office to speak to our highly qualified, experienced attorneys. Our traffic experts will review your options with you to determine what the best option may be, based on the individual circumstances of your case.