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Here's how to safely drive around school buses

Violating traffic laws around school buses could result in a fine of up to $300 for first time offenders and six points on their license.

COLORADO, USA — The new school year has arrived and you're likely to encounter a lot more school buses on the roads this year.

With most students back in their classrooms after a year working remotely, many will be taking buses to and from school.

Since it's likely been a bit since you've encountered a school bus, here are few things to keep in mind to keep you and the students safe.

According to the Colorado driver's handbook, the following actions are illegal around school buses:

  • Passing in any marked no-passing zone.
  • Exceeding the speed limit when passing.
  • Passing a bus with flashing red lights and a stop arm extended.
  • Passing within 100 feet of any intersection.
  • Passing within 100 feet of any railroad crossing.
  • Passing on any hill, curve, or bridge where vision is obstructed.

If a bus is displaying alternating flashing red light signals that are visible from the front or rear, you must stop immediately before reaching the bus and should not proceed until the flashing lights stop. You must stop no less than 20 feet from the front or rear bumper of the bus.

Credit: Colorado DMV

There is an exception if you're traveling on a divided highway with four or more lanes with a median separating the traffic. In those instances, it's only necessary for the vehicles traveling in both lanes behind the school bus to stop.

If you're traveling on a four-lane roadway without a median, both directions of traffic are required to stop.

Violating a school bus traffic law is considered a class one of class two misdemeanor offense. Drivers can be fined up to $300 with a mandatory court appearance and six points on their license. A second offense within a five-year period has a fine of up to $1,000.

Drivers are also urged to use extreme care when around a stopped bus because the actions of children, especially younger students, can be unpredictable.    

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