Stricter school bus passing laws made for kids#039; safety

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 9, 2006

The law got tougher beginning last week on motorists for illegally passing a school bus while stopped to load or unload students on any Alabama road – highway, roadway, school property, or private road. And everyone better obey the law or they will face some bigger fines.

The School Bus Illegal Passing Law increases penalties for motorists who illegally pass a stopped school bus:

1st Offense: A fine of no less than $150 and not exceeding $300.

2nd Offense: A fine of at least $300 up to $500, at least 100 hours of community service, and driving privileges revoked for 30 days.

3rd Offense: Fines from $500 to $1,000, 200 hours of community service, and driver's license suspended for 90 days.

4th Offense: Class C felony charge, fines from $1,000 to $3,000, and driver license suspended for one year.

The most dangerous part of a school bus ride is when the bus stops to load or unload students. Motorists who have illegally passed stopped school buses have injured or killed 11 Alabama children since 1998.

That could all have been avoided if motorists would have been just a little bit more patient.

According to an Illegal Passing Survey conducted by the Alabama Department of Education, there were 1,862 documented illegal passes of school buses on one day in 2005.

It not only applies to just two-lane roads, but also to any size road. That means four-lane highways are included.

No one should be in that big of a hurry to want to pass a stopped bus on the road unless it's an absolute emergency. If you do need to go somewhere quickly, learn where the buses run and go another way.

Just being a little more patient can help save lives. We would certainly appreciate that fact if our own children were involved. – Clanton Advertiser