New Georgia law changes rules for drivers during school bus stops
A new law in Georgia changes when drivers are required to stop for a stopped school bus, but it shouldn't seem new to most drivers.
It actually fixes a flaw in the law that allowed drivers on some highways to keep driving even when a school bus was stopped.
School officials and officers say this law helps protect students.
School buses carry about 9,000 students to and from school in Whitfield County every day.
Assistant Superintendent of Operations Mike Ewton says, "It's just so important for people to realize how dangerous it can be at bus stops."
It's up to everyone on the road to make sure students can leave those bus stops safely.
According to the new law, if a school bus is stopped on a road with its lights on and sign out, you have to stop no matter which direction you're driving. This applies to two lane roads, four lane roads, and roads with a turning lane.
The only time you do not have to stop is if there is a median in the road, separating you and the bus.
"It's going to be a grassy area, a paved area, or a concrete wall that divides the two directions of travel," Dalton Police Department spokesperson Bruce Frazier says.
According to information given to school officials, if you are caught passing a school bus that is stopped, you could be fined up to $1,000 and risk getting six points on your driver’s license.
"Just remember, if you see a school bus stopping and the red lights are on, you need to stop unless it's a road with a median," says Frazier.
School officials say they try to avoid bus stops where students have to cross the street, but it does still happen and sometimes students cross when they aren't supposed to.
"A child might get confused and not having traffic stopped in all directions could be catastrophic," says Ewton.
Dalton police say they are focusing on educating drivers right now, but it is important to know they can start giving out tickets right away.