Governor Brian Kemp just signed a new bill into law that changes the requirements for when drivers must stop when traveling in the opposite direction of school buses on Georgia roads.
The previous law included vague language about cars traveling in the opposite direction of a stopped school bus, making it legal for certain vehicles to keep driving even though children might be crossing the street.
The new law clarifies that all traffic traveling in both directions must stop if a school bus is stopped, unless there is a median separating the lanes. This bill is meant to protect the safety of school children who need to cross the street after exiting a bus.
What Was The Prior School Bus Law?
Previously, all drivers traveling in the same direction as a school bus were required to stop when the bus did. However, the law did not always require cars traveling in the opposite direction to stop. Many safety advocates believed that this put children at risk who may be crossing the roadway by putting them at an increased risk of a pedestrian accident.
What Is the New School Bus Law?
The new law is much more specific about who has to stop when a school bus is stopped. All traffic traveling in the same direction as the school bus is still required to stop regardless of the road type or number of lanes.
Now, however, all vehicles traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus are required to stop, unless there is a median separating the two roadways. This median could be grassy or could include a barrier.
If the bus is stopped on a:
- Two-lane roadway, both lanes must stop.
- Four-lane roadway with no median, all traffic must stop.
- Two-lane or four-lane roadway with a center turning lane, all traffic must stop.
Children may have a harder time judging when it is safe to cross the street, so this law is meant to reduce the risk of accidents in areas where children may have to cross.
Violation of this law may result in significant penalties, including a $1,000 fine, 6 points added to your driving record, and a possible court appearance. If you are under 21 years of age, you may also have your license suspended.
This new law went into effect on Monday, February 18. Though law enforcement is primarily focused on educating drivers at the moment, it is important to note that they can start giving out tickets at any time.
How Can The Champion Firm Help Me?
If your child was injured while crossing the street after exiting a school bus, your family needs to speak with an experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney. Contact the Champion Firm, P.C. to learn about your legal options. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team.