Children in Louisiana are heading back to school, and for many this means daily trips on the school bus. However, parents may be concerned about the safety of school buses, and with good reason. This is because other motorists may not follow the rules of the road when it comes to traveling on the same streets as school buses, leading to a motor vehicle accident that injures children aboard the bus. The following is a brief overview of Louisiana law motorists must follow when sharing the road with a school bus.
Traffic laws involving school buses
First, whether a motorist is meeting the bus or is behind it, if the bus is stopped to let children on or off it, motorists are required to stop a minimum of 30 feet away from the bus, unless the loading zone is completely off the roadway and pedestrians are not permitted to cross the street at that area.
However, if a school bus stops in the opposite lane from a motorist, and the road is separated by a grassy median, concrete barrier or any other physical feature that keeps traffic in each lane completely physically separated, motorists do not need to stop for the school bus. Keep in mind that this does not include lines painted on the roadways.
When motorists and buses are sharing a road that has four or five lanes and the road is not separated by any barriers, motorists must stop if the bus is also stopped. Finally, once a motorist has stopped for a school bus, they cannot continue driving until the bus is back in motion or the visual warning signs on the bus, such as the stop sign and flashing lights, are no longer engaged.
Laws cannot prevent all school bus accidents
Unfortunately, despite laws meant to keep children on school buses safe, there will always be drivers that do not abide by these laws and will strike a school bus, causing the passengers therein to be seriously injured. A school bus accident can be a parent’s worst nightmare, so those who find themselves facing just such a situation will want to seek the legal help needed to determine what their rights are moving forward.