Now that schools are back, buses will be out there every morning and afternoon, so it's time for a quick review of New York State Bus and School Zone laws that could cost you big time.

You've had it easy all summer, almost three months of not having to worry about school buses, school zones, and the hefty fines they carry. So today, before it's too late, and thanks to patch.com, here's a review of some of the Bus and School Zone laws that are strictly enforced and effect New York drivers.

Passing A School Bus:

In New York, like in most states, it is mandatory for motorists to stop for school buses that have their red warning lights activated. If you see the bus has its yellow lights flashing, that means the bus is preparing to stop. When these lights start flashing, you must stop from either direction.

If you're driving and illegally pass a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing, you could face fines from $250 to $400 for the first conviction, $600 to $750 for the second if that conviction is within three years of your last conviction, and $750 to $1,000 for the third conviction (within three years). Five points is also added to your license. There is also the possibility of jail time for up to 30 days for the first and up to 180 days for the second and third convictions.

School Zone Laws:

Don't even think about going above the speed limit in school zones. These speed limits are set for the safety of students and drivers in and around the school zone.

Most school zones usually have posted speed limits between 10 and 20 mph. These speeds must be observed during posted times, and of course whenever schools are open.

If you're caught speeding in these zones fines can be somewhat steep. 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit could cost you a $300 fine with an $85 surcharge plus three points added to your license. More than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit and there's the possibility of jail time.

Five simple safety tips when schools in session:

  1. School buses make frequent stops, so always be prepared to stop when there are buses on the road.
  2. Come to a complete stop and leave some distance between you and a stopped school bus with it's lights flashing, and never pass a bus dropping off children.
  3. Watch for children crossing in the front and back of stopped school buses.
  4. If there's a bus stop in your neighborhood, keep an eye out for children at the stop, and children who may be running to or from the stop.
  5. School buses stop at all railroad crossing, so be prepared to stop as well.

Now I think you're ready as a driver to take on another school year. Just be careful at all times, and always be aware of school children around school zones, and school buses.

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