School Bus Safety 2

Clarksville urge drivers to be especially cautious in school zones and when they encounter school buses on streets and roads throughout the community.

The advice comes in the wake of recent incidents in which a motorist hit a student on a bicycle in a school zone and another in which parents confronted a motorist who sped past a stopped school bus.

So far this school year, which began Aug. 7, Clarksville police processed 128 citations for school zone and school bus-related violations, which ranged from speeding to improper passing of a bus. 

Clarksville police will continue vigorous patrols in school zones to ensure motorists are following the rules of the road in school zones and along bus routes.  

Local motorists are urged to be aware of increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic around school zones and to follow the rules of the road associated with school buses. 

School Zones

School zones are marked with lights or traffic signs, so drivers need to be alert, obey speed limits and avoid distractions. Motorists also must pay attention to school crossing guards or officers directing traffic in the school zones. Drivers must not block crosswalks and must be prepared to stop and yield to children in crosswalks.  

All school zones have a 20 mph speed limit unless otherwise posted. Speeding in a school zone can result in a fine of $269 and points on record. It also could result in reckless driving charges.

School Buses

Motorists should be careful when traveling near school buses and allow more stopping distance, which provides more time to react when a bus’s yellow lights start flashing.

Here are other key regulations involving buses:

• It is illegal to pass a school bus stopped to load or unload children. Never pass on the right side of the bus, which is the loading and unloading area for children.

• When meeting a school or church bus, if the red stop warning signal lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop until the stop arm is pulled back and the bus motion resumes.

• When overtaking a school or church bus, drivers approaching from the rear shall not pass when the red stop warning signal lights are flashing. Drivers must come to a complete stop until the stop signal arm is pulled in and the bus motion resumes.

• Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children.  Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop.

• Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm mean the bus is stopping to load or unload children. Motorists should stop and wait until the red flashing lights are turned off, the stop arm is retracted, and the bus begins to move again.

• When driving on a highway with separate roadways for traffic in opposite directions, divided by a median space or barrier, drivers in opposite direction of bus travel do not have to stop but should proceed with caution.

• A turn lane in the middle of a four-lane highway is not considered a barrier.  Drivers meeting a school bus on this type of road would be required to stop in both directions. 

School bus violations carry fines of between $250 and $1,000. The typical fine is $464 and points on a license.

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