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Back to School: Getting Educated on School-related Traffic Offenses

School is back in session in Virginia which means that school buses are once again a common sight on our roads. Keeping children safe is undoubtedly important, but what some people may not know is the damage that passing a stopped school bus can do to your criminal record.

Passing a stopped school bus in Virginia is reckless driving and is classified as a Class 1 Misdemeanor. This charge would appear on your criminal record and can dramatically impact your insurance rates, if convicted.

The law states that a driver must stop when approaching from any direction, any school bus that is stopped, and must remain stopped until all persons are clear from the highway and the bus is put in motion. The only exception to that statute is when the bus is stopped on a divided highway or is somehow separated from the roadway that the driver is traveling on.

This section applies to school buses that are equipped with warning devices, are painted yellow, and have the words "School Bus" in black letters on the front and rear of the bus. This may seem obvious, but that helps distinguish this violation from other buses that are not School buses.

Speeding in a school zone will also result in higher fines and are once again prevalent now that school is back in session. If you are found guilty of speeding in a school zone, the court can assess an additional $200.00 fine and the fee increases from $6.00 for every mile per hour over the speed limit to $7.00 for every mile per hour over the speed limit.

Courts and judges are much less likely to reduce or dismiss your speeding ticket if you received that ticket while in a school zone.

If you have received these or any other traffic offenses, please contact the Law Office of James R. Elliott at 757-898-4805 today and I would gladly assist you in your legal matter.

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