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Video: School Bus Law Disregarded

After a resident posted this footage on YouTube, it prompts questions about knowledge of the law.

A reader sent this video, which he found on YouTube, to Ashburn Patch about cars disregarding Virginia state law about passing a stopped school bus that’s loading or unloading students. This video appears to be along Route 9, near Route 7, just west of Leesburg. There does not appear to be any type of barrier or median—both of which provide exceptions to the law—separating the buses in this video from the cars passing by.

Has anyone seen this happen in Ashburn? Please let me know and upload pictures or video if possible.

Did you know that failing to stop for a school bus could result in a $250 fine?

Virginia permits school systems to install video to help catch offenders. Below are the state laws pertaining to the issue:

§ 46.2-859. Passing a stopped school bus; prima facie evidence.

A person driving a motor vehicle shall stop such vehicle when approaching, from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children, the elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons, and shall remain stopped until all the persons are clear of the highway, private road or school driveway and the bus is put in motion; any person violating the foregoing is guilty of reckless driving. The driver of a vehicle, however, need not stop when approaching a school bus if the school bus is stopped on the other roadway of a divided highway, on an access road, or on a driveway when the other roadway, access road, or driveway is separated from the roadway on which he is driving by a physical barrier or an unpaved area. The driver of a vehicle also need not stop when approaching a school bus which is loading or discharging passengers from or onto property immediately adjacent to a school if the driver is directed by a law-enforcement officer or other duly authorized uniformed school crossing guard to pass the school bus. This section shall apply to school buses which are equipped with warning devices prescribed in § 46.2-1090 and are painted yellow with the words "School Bus" in black letters at least eight inches high on the front and rear thereof. Only school buses which are painted yellow and equipped with the required lettering and warning devices shall be identified as school buses.

The testimony of the school bus driver, the supervisor of school buses or a law-enforcement officer that the vehicle was yellow, conspicuously marked as a school bus, and equipped with warning devices as prescribed in § 46.2-1090 is prima facie evidence that the vehicle is a school bus.

 

§ 46.2-844. Passing stopped school buses; penalty; prima facie evidence.

A. The driver of a motor vehicle approaching from any direction a clearly marked school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children, the elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons, who, in violation of § 46.2-859, fails to stop and remain stopped until all such persons are clear of the highway, private road or school driveway, is subject to a civil penalty of $250 and any prosecution shall be instituted and conducted in the same manner as prosecutions for traffic infractions.

A prosecution or proceeding under § 46.2-859 is a bar to a prosecution or proceeding under this section for the same act and a prosecution or proceeding under this section is a bar to a prosecution or proceeding under § 46.2-859 for the same act.

In any prosecution for which a summons charging a violation of this section was issued within ten days of the alleged violation, proof that the motor vehicle described in the summons was operated in violation of this section, together with proof that the defendant was at the time of such violation the registered owner of the vehicle, as required by Chapter 6 (§ 46.2-600 et seq.) of this title shall give rise to a rebuttable presumption that the registered owner of the vehicle was the person who operated the vehicle at the place where, and for the time during which, the violation occurred.

The testimony of the school bus driver, the supervisor of school buses or a law-enforcement officer that the vehicle was yellow, conspicuously marked as a school bus, and equipped with warning devices as prescribed in § 46.2-1090 is prima facie evidence that the vehicle is a school bus.

B. A locality may, by ordinance, authorize the school division of the locality to install and operate a video-monitoring system in or on the school buses operated by the division or to contract with a private vendor to do so on behalf of the school division for the purpose of recording violations of subsection A. Such ordinance may direct that any civil penalty levied for a violation of subsection A shall be payable to the local school division.

For purposes of this subsection, "video-monitoring system" means a system with one or more camera sensors and computers installed and operated on a school bus that produces live digital and recorded video of motor vehicles being operated in violation of § 46.2-859. All such systems installed shall, at a minimum, produce a recorded image of the license plate and shall record the activation status of at least one warning device as prescribed in § 46.2-1090 and the time, date, and location of the vehicle when the image is recorded.

Tom Kalka April 27, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Thanks for posting this and raising awareness. I see people all to often passing busses with red lights flashing. It blows my mind. It happens in Reston along Huntermill all the time.
Dusty Smith (Editor) April 27, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Thanks for weighing in. We've also had a few comments on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/AshburnPatch/posts/410377592313612?ref=notif&notif_t=feed_comment). Has anyone else seen this?
Charlotte April 27, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Unfortunately I see this all too often. Everyone is in such a hurry that they are oblivious to what is going on around them and the safety of others.
Ned Worthington April 27, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Thanks for this story Dusty. It certainly highlights the need for drivers to do a little refresher on the laws regarding school buses. That footage was amazing!
Claudette Chenevert April 27, 2012 at 12:46 PM
I can't believe that people are actually not stopping for school buses. I've just posted this on my Facebook page and plan and making sure to spread the word around. Hopefully, some people will recognize some of the drivers and put them to shame (or better yet, fine them). I really had no idea that some people actually wouldn't stop for school buses. I will be more observant from now on.
Bus Driver LCPS April 27, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Thank you for that footage. I am a Loudoun County School bus driver and I fight with this every single day! Someone needs to take video of Oakgrove Road in Sterling. Almost as bad!!!
TravisW April 28, 2012 at 03:51 AM
Good timing on the article. I saw this yesterday morning on Gloucester Pkwy near Farmwell Station Middle School. After the bus was flashing red a car flew by in the next lane. While not excusable I understand the frustration in that area because if you come through at the wrong time in the morning you could be stuck behind three stops in a row without much chance to escape them. I've lived in Ashburn for three years and this was the first time around here I've seen someone fail to stop for a bus. But since I live right by an elementary school I notice regularly a complete lack of compliance when it comes to school zone speed limits.
Dusty Smith (Editor) April 29, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Thanks to everyone for responding. We're getting comments on the Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/AshburnPatch/posts/410377592313612?ref=notif&notif_t=feed_comment), too. I've heard from at least two bus drivers at this point who have seen this all over the county, including Ashburn. And residents are seeing it, too. It's definitely time for everyone to refresh their memories on the law safety.
Cindy April 30, 2012 at 06:55 PM
This bus stop is right next to a median. The only portion of the bus that is past the median is the hood so it's not as bad as the videographer is making it out to be,

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