Bus Stop Laws: When to stop, and when you don’t have to

MIAMI VALLEY — Districts across the Miami Valley are heading back to class this week, and state troopers will be out on the road working to make sure kids have a safe way to and from school this year.

Troopers will be watching for drivers who don’t stop for school busses, and for people speeding in school zones.

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“School bus safety week is upcoming with the new school year starting. So we focus not just on school busses but also school zones with the flashing lights and the 20 MPH zone,” said Lt. Brian Aller with the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “For school busses, we will sometimes follow them for an extended amount of time just making sure that nobody’s violating school bus safety laws.”

Data from OSHP shows that from 2016 through 2020, law enforcement across the state gave citations to 13,943 drivers for either not stopping for a school bus that was loading or unloading children, or for other school zone violations.

In Ohio, the only time you don’t have to stop for a stopped school bus that’s loading or unloading kids is when traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus on a street with four or more lanes

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When traveling the same way as the school bus, drivers always have to stop, no matter what.

If on a road with any less than four lanes, traffic in both directions always has to stop for a stopped bus.

“When the stop sign is out, you need to stop at least 10 feet before or behind the school bus when the stop sign’s out, the red lights are flashing and you have to stay stopped until the school bus begins to move, at which point, then you can pass,” Aller said.

State law says when getting a violation for not stopping for a stopped school bus, the driver will face a mandatory, in-person court appearance.