You see them on the road all the time picking up and dropping off children to and from school. Truthfully, stopping for a school bus can sometimes cost you valuable time that we all need (especially if you are behind a bus that has several stops on the road you are on). However, failing to stop for a school bus can get you in serious trouble and should be avoided at all costs.
Under VTL 1174(a), drivers are required to stop for school busses in certain situations. This law was enacted in order to protect children, our most vulnerable members of society.
If you are driving in the vicinity of a school bus, it is important to always keep a safe distance. Be sure to keep an eye out for any sudden stops the bus may make. If you see the bus stop with its red lights flashing or the attached stop sign extend (located on the driver’s side of the bus), you should come to a full stop.
Remember, you should remain stopped until the school bus begins moving again (or the bus driver or a police officer signals that you are allowed to continue moving).
If you are convicted of failing to stop for a school bus, you could face the following penalties:
- 5 Points on Your License
- Fine of Up to $400
- $88-$93 Surcharge
- Up to 30 Days in Jail
If you are convicted again within 3 years of your first conviction, the fine skyrockets to $750 and you can go to jail for up to 180 days.
A third conviction comes with a $1,000 fine, 180 days of possible jail time, and a mandatory revocation of your New York driver’s license.
Be sure to hire an experienced NY traffic attorney to help you avoid a conviction for failing to stop for a school bus.
Official Text of New York’s School Bus Law
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1174. Overtaking and passing school bus.
(a) The driver of a vehicle upon a public highway, street or private road upon meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus marked and equipped as provided in subdivision twenty of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter which has stopped on the public highway, street or private road for the purpose of receiving or discharging any passengers, or which has stopped because a school bus in front of it has stopped to receive or discharge any passengers, shall stop the vehicle before reaching such school bus when there is in operation on said school bus a red visual signal as specified in subdivision twenty of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter and said driver shall not proceed until such school bus resumes motion, or until signaled by the driver or a police officer to proceed. For the purposes of this section, and in addition to the provisions of section one hundred thirty-four of this chapter, the term “public highway” shall mean any area used for the parking of motor vehicles or used as a driveway located on the grounds of a school or of a board of cooperative educational services facility or any area used as a means of access to and egress from such school or facility.
Common Defense and Case Law Analysis
New York case law reveals a couple interesting defenses that your NY traffic ticket attorney can use to help you avoid a conviction for violating VTL 1174.
In People v. Brooks, 2013 NY Slip Op 23005, the court ruled that:
- “VTL §1174(a) is not violated every time one fails to stop for a school bus he or she encounters on the road. Rather, the statute applies only when the bus is stopped to pick up or discharge passengers and has so indicated by exhibiting flashing red lights and/or a stop sign (generally extended from its side) to alert other cars on the road that the bus is doing so.”
Interestingly, the court in Brooks defines the applicability of VTL 1174(a) in a twofold fashion:
- First, the law only applies when the bus is stopped to pick up or drop off passengers.
- Second, the law only applies when the bus has its red lights on and/or stop sign extended.
This precedent allows your attorney to cast doubt on whether the school bus was really stopped for the purpose of dropping off or picking up passengers.
Additionally, if the bus did not have its lights on or stop sign out, this case gives you a firm leg to stand on when making a motion to dismiss.
A second defense that is commonly used is that the driver never “met” or “overtook” the school bus. According to People v. Giambanco, 20 NY Slip Op 50724:
Make sure to hire a New York traffic ticket lawyer who has the skill and ability to raise these common defenses (and several others) in order to get your traffic ticket lowered or dismissed.
Who Should You Contact?
If you received a NY traffic ticket for violating VTL 1174(a), failing to stop for a school bus, contact The Rosenblum Law Firm today. Our team of NY traffic ticket lawyers will do all they can to protect your legal rights and fight to get you the results you want. Call us today at 888-883-5529.