Supposing you have your Texas driver’s license, you’re probably aware that it’s illegal to pass a stopped school bus that is letting students board or get off the school bus.
Usually, drivers are notified of this process by red, flashing lights and a STOP sign that is displayed on the side of the bus (meant to alert drivers).
Unfortunately, school districts have realized that drivers are in the habit of not stopping for school busses. Often, drivers will speed past a stopped school bus as children are getting on or off the bus.
Whether drivers aren’t aware of the law, or they choose to disobey it, either way, failing to obey this law places children’s lives in danger.
Can I Face Criminal Charges for Passing a School Bus?
In an effort to punish drivers who pass stopped school busses, Texas legislatures decided to enact Sec. 545.066 of the Texas Transportation Code. Under this section, when drivers (from either direction) approach a school bus that is stopped to receive or discharge students, they are required to STOP their vehicle until:
- The school bus resumes driving
- The bus driver signals the driver to proceed
- The visual signal is turned off
An offense under Section 545.066 is punishable by a fine ranging from $500 to $1,250. However, passing a stopped school bus is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000 if it’s the driver’s second offense within the past five years.
Passing a stopped school bus is a Class A misdemeanor if the driver causes serious bodily injury to a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or anyone else. Going further, passing a stopped school bus is a state jail felony if the driver was previously convicted of causing bodily injury to another person after passing a stopped school bus.