In the state of Georgia, driving past a stopped school bus is a serious offense. According to Georgia law, when a school bus stops to let off children, the traffic in both directions must come to a full stop. Unfortunately, not all drivers obey this traffic law. Impatient drivers or those who recently got their license will sometimes ignore the stop sign and flashing lights, driving around a fully stopped bus. While it is true that most drivers have experienced some level of frustration after being caught behind a school bus, especially if that driver is running late for work, it is important to know why Georgia drivers should never pass a school bus regardless of how justified that passing may feel.
Some drivers have forgotten that the strict school bus passing laws have a sad origin. In the past, drivers hurrying to speed around stopped school busses created dangerous situations for everyone on the road. Traffic accidents that ended in the deaths of drivers and innocent school children occurred leading to additional safety measures being put in place. The majority of fatal accidents occur when drivers, attempting to get around a bus, crash into a school bus. Other accidents happen when drivers do not see small children who are passing in front of the bus going to or from their homes, especially when visibility is reduced.
Passing a school bus unlawfully comes with strict driver’s license penalties that few motor vehicle operators can afford. Passing a stopped school bus in Georgia will cost a driver six points on his or her driving record. This is the same point penalty that drivers get for aggressing driving, and more than individuals guilty of reckless driving receive. Getting 15 points in two years results in a driver’s license suspension, and if you are a driver who is under the age of 21, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months.
Losing a driver’s license through suspension is bad, but the financial hardships caused by fines can be worse. Passing a stopped school bus that has its lights flashing results in a fine of $300 for the first offense. Additional offenses lead to more fines with the current maximum fine being $1,000. Numerous counties throughout Georgia have started using school bus cameras to film traffic violations that police have been unable to witness. These cameras have led to approximately $2 million in traffic fines being collected for illegally passing a school bus.
When to Contact an Attorney
The penalties associated with passing a stopped school bus in Georgia can add up quickly and lead to long-lasting consequences. Financial penalties and the loss of your driver’s license are only the beginning. If you or someone close to you has received a citation for passing a stopped school bus, consult a skilled attorney at once. The team at Yeargan, Barber, & Kert will work with you to determine the best way to defend your rights and reduce your charges. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our Atlanta area locations to discuss your ticket for passing a school bus.