School Climate & Safety

Let’s Talk About When Cars Need to Stop for School Buses

By Caitlynn Peetz — September 18, 2023 1 min read
Collage of school bus, cars, stop sign and a neighborhood map.
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With school back in session, do you need a refresher course on the rules of the road when approaching a school bus that’s stopped to pick up or drop off children?

If you do, the content from that refresher course will depend on where you live and the situation you encounter on the road. But experts agree: Knowing your local laws can save children’s lives and protect them from serious injuries.

Dozens of children are hurt or killed every year by drivers who pass stopped school buses, an illegal act that happens an estimated 42 million times annually. Oftentimes, drivers are unaware of the rules.

In a recent TikTok video, Education Week social media producer Hayley Hardison broke down recent EdWeek reporting on the issue, emphasizing the complexity of and differences in each state’s laws.

@edweek Do you know when cars have to stop for school buses? 🛑🚌 #teachertok #edutok #education #schoolbus ♬ original sound - Education Week

Read more about the dangers of passing stopped school buses and what school districts are doing about it here. You can also find a general breakdown of state laws, downloadables outlining the rules for common situations in every state, and recent developments in a push for more robust data collection about drivers’ violations.

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Crime scene tape cordons off a school bus as police officers from the Indiana State Police, Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department and Columbus Police Department investigate a hit and run involving a student and a vehicle at a bus stop on South Gladstone Avenue in Columbus, Ind., on Aug. 30, 2021.
Crime scene tape cordons off a school bus as police officers from the Indiana State Police, Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department and Columbus Police Department investigate a hit-and-run involving a student and a vehicle at a bus stop on South Gladstone Avenue in Columbus, Ind., on Aug. 30, 2021. About eight students per year are killed boarding or getting off of school buses.
Mike Wolanin/The Republic via AP
Illustration of a bus and cars on the road, and a stop symbol.
F. Sheehan for Education Week / Getty
Close up of a stop sign on a school bus. School children are blurred in the background. Focus is on the stop sign.
SDI Productions/E+/Getty

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