RULES OF THE ROAD: Police remind drivers of bus-passing laws
As schools start back up this week, you can expect to add time to your morning commute if you pass through school zones.
East Ridge Police Chief Stan Allen says most people know what to do when they see a stopped bus, but that doesn't always mean they stop.
Before hitting the road, here's a refresher on what to do when you see that stop arm.
"They should be alert for that bus. It may stop to let the kids off or let them on,” Allen said. “Just be aware of their surroundings."
Allen tells Channel 3 that in most cases, you need to stop.
"It's illegal to pass a school bus when the bus is stopped loading and unloading children, and when the stop arm is out,” he said.
Allen says any time you're approaching a bus with the stop arm out, you need to stop, no matter how many lanes there are. That applies even when the road goes in two directions. But there is an exception for roads with barriers.
"If it's a divided highway they don't have to stop coming the opposite direction,” he said.
Drivers need to know when they're about to cross into school zones too. They should be prepared to stop for more buses and slow their speed.
"Our school zones here in East Ridge are marked with flashing lights,” Allen said. “They're on when school is taking up or letting out. They need to be aware of those signs."
Allen says luckily, most people are aware of the rules.
"It's rare that they don't know that. That's something that's pretty common,” he said. “It's a common law across the entire country, so it's not an unusual thing."
But that doesn't mean police aren't on the lookout.
"We don't write a lot of tickets for that, but generally that's not something you're going to get a break for,” Allen said.