School is back in session, remember the rules of the road when it comes to buses

[image courtesy NCDOT]

Classes at most Iowa public schools are resuming this week, and that means it’s a good time to review the rules of the road when it comes to school buses on local highways.

School zones are clearly marked with flashing lights and signs indicating the designated times and speed limits.

When it comes to stopped school buses on most roads traffic in all directions must stop.

On four-lane roads, only the traffic traveling in the same direction has to stop. If you are traveling in the opposite direction, slow down and proceed with caution.

In March 2012, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed into law Senate File 2218, the “Keep Aware Driving — Youth Need School Safety Act,” commonly known as Kadyn’s Law (Kadyn’s Law Final Report, Dec. 2012)

Kadyn Halverson
Kadyn Halverson

Passed unanimously in the Iowa House and Senate, the law is aimed at preventing other tragic deaths and serious injuries to Iowa’s school children while boarding or unloading from a school bus. On May 10, 2011, Kadyn Halverson, age 7, of Northwood, was struck by a pickup while trying to cross the road to board a school bus.

The Act increased the criminal penalties for passing a stopped school bus and directed the Iowa DOT to enact rules that make illegally passing a stopped school bus a serious moving violation that triggers increasing periods of suspension for first, second and subsequent offenses.

On Aug. 14, 2012, the Iowa Department of Transportation adopted an emergency administrative rule that increases the administrative driving privilege sanctions for illegally passing a stopped school bus. Effective Aug. 15, 2012, the rule provides that a person’s Iowa driving privilege will be suspended 30 days for a first conviction, 90 days for a second conviction, and 180 days for a third or subsequent conviction.

Kadyn’s Law also increased the criminal penalties and administrative sanctions for those convicted of such violations.

Here are some other reminders for drivers:

  • When the bus’s yellow flashers turn on, that signifies that it is preparing to have a child get on or off the bus. All vehicles behind the bus must come to a complete stop.
  • If you are approaching a bus from the opposite direction, slow your speed to 20 mph when the bus turns on its yellow flashers.
  • Stop your vehicle at least 15 feet from the bus.
  • Remain stopped until the flashing lights are turned off and the stop arm is pulled back in.
  • Failure to comply could result in a fine of $250 plus court costs.

Here are reminders for students:

  • Stop and look both ways before crossing a street.
  • Make sure you’re bus driver can see you when you are crossing in front of the bus. If you can’t see the driver, the driver cannot see you.
  • Never cross behind the bus.
  • When getting on or off the bus, never cross the street until the bus driver signals it’s OK to cross.
  • If you drop something near the bus, do not pick it up. Instead, tell the bus driver what you dropped, and let the driver instruct you on what to do.