Who has to stop for a school bus?

Sumter traffic to increase as school resumes

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With Sumter County's school year about to begin, school buses and students of all ages will be back on the road.

Sumter School District has 94 regular-route buses and 21 special-needs buses, according to Brian Jones, transportation team lead/area three supervisor from the district's Transportation Services department.

"We encourage parents to be mindful of children returning to school and buses making stops. State law states bus stops must be .2 miles apart in order to be safe. Leaving in time to get to your destination is always recommended," Jones said.

Law enforcement plans to be on the road in full force as school starts back up to ensure traffic safety.

South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. David Jones said school bus operators still see people violating the stop arm law and passing stopped school buses on a daily basis.

"I can tell you as a trooper and as a parent, we're going to be out in full force looking for people making that poor decision," Jones said.

He said the highway patrol sends out back-to-school traffic reminders every year because people still question stop arm laws with school buses.

"Whenever we see school start back, we see an increase in morning collisions because there's more traffic on the road at earlier times," Jones said. "There's an increase of buses and school traffic and people getting in a hurry, and that's not the time to let emotions take over and drive distracted or try and speed to get around a bus. I can promise you we're going to be following these buses, and if we see somebody pass these stopped school buses, we're going to stop them and give them tickets."

A ticket for passing a stopped bus is up to $1,000 and six points on a driver's license, according to Jones.

Who has to stop?

Those subject to stop arm laws include motorists on a two-lane road in both directions and those on a four-lane road in the same direction.

Safety tips

Here are some reminders for drivers about the law in South Carolina for being around school buses:

  •  Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is preparing to stop. Drivers must slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  •  Red flashing lights and extended stop arms mean the bus has stopped and is loading or unloading children. Drivers must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing. After the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm will be withdrawn, and the bus will move before drivers can start driving again.
  •  Be cautious of children walking or biking to school.
  •  In neighborhoods and school zones, be cautious of the speed limit and pedestrians.
  •  Watch for children playing and gathering near bus stops.
  •  Be alert as children arriving late to the bus stop may dart into the street without looking for traffic.

For more back-to-school safety tips and information, go to www.scdps.sc.gov/tz/backtoschoolsafety.