School Bus Safety with Rich Barnes

Rich Barnes from The Barnes Firm joined us to talk about School Bus Safety as the 2021-2022 school season is now in full swing. Listen to what he had to say and read some tips for staying safe this season.




Students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a bus instead of traveling by car.

Laws protect students who are getting off and on a school bus

It’s illegal for drivers to pass a school bus while dropping off or picking up passengers, regardless of the direction of approach

GREATEST RISK: approaching or leaving a bus

Before your child goes back to school or starts school for the first time, it’s important for you and your child to know traffic safety rules.

Teach your child to follow these practices to make school bus transportation safer.


Safety Starts at the Bus Stop

Your child should arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
Visit the bus stop and show your child where to wait for the bus: at least three giant steps (six feet) away from the curb.
Remind your child that the bus stop is not a place to run or play.
Use Caution Around the Bus

Your child should never walk behind a school bus.
If your child must cross the street in front of the bus, tell him/her to walk on a sidewalk or along the side of the street to a place at least five giant steps (10 feet) in front of the bus before crossing.
Your child should also make eye contact with the bus driver before crossing to make sure the driver can see him/her.
If your child drops something near the school bus, like a ball or book, the safest thing is for your child to tell the bus driver right away.
****Your child should not try to pick up the item, because the driver might not be able to see him/her.


Make school bus transportation safer for everyone by following these practices:

When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.
Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in neighborhood.
Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
Learn and obey the school bus laws in your state, as well as the “flashing signal light system” that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions:
Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.


You must stop for a school bus when you are on a multi-lane highway, whether the school bus is on your side of the road or on the opposite side of the road. You must stop for a school bus when you are at an intersection, whether the school bus is on your side of the road or on the opposite side of the road.

When a school bus stops and flashes its red lights, traffic approaching from either direction must stop before reaching the bus:

-on a two-lane road

-on multi-lane highways

-on divided highways

Consequences For Not Obeying Bus Laws/Safety

Vehicle Operators – There are legal and financial consequences for vehicle operators who pass a school bus while the school bus is stopped for the purpose of dropping off or picking up passengers and red lights on the school bus are flashing.

First conviction – fine of $250-$400 and/or up to 30 days in jail

Second conviction within 3 years – fine of $600-$750 and/or up to 180 days in jail

Third conviction (or more) within 3 years – fine of $750-$1000 and/or up to 180 days in jail