The Winchester Police Department would like to remind the public to be extra cautious when driving near school buses. The police department has received complaints regarding drivers who are not stopping when a school bus is displaying flashing red lights and a stop sign. Motorists are reminded that both directions of traffic are required to stop on four lane roads without a divided highway when a school bus is picking up or dropping off students. Some examples of these roads in the City of Winchester are Valley Avenue (Route 11) and Pleasant Valley Road. Violators will be charged with reckless driving, a class 1 misdemeanor that is punishable with up to one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
Children often forget to look both ways when they are getting on or off the bus and these traffic laws are in place to prevent an accident involving a school bus or the bus riders. The police department is increasing enforcement of traffic laws involving school buses in an effort to ensure the safety of our children.
Code of Virginia § 46.2-859. Passing a stopped school bus; prima facie evidence. A person driving a motor vehicle shall stop such vehicle when approaching, from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children, the elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons, and shall remain stopped until all the persons are clear of the highway, private road or school driveway and the bus is put in motion; any person violating the foregoing is guilty of reckless driving. The driver of a vehicle, however, need not stop when approaching a school bus if the school bus is stopped on the other roadway of a divided highway, on an access road, or on a driveway when the other roadway, access road, or driveway is separated from the roadway on which he is driving by a physical barrier or an unpaved area. The driver of a vehicle also need not stop when approaching a school bus which is loading or discharging passengers from or onto property immediately adjacent to a school if the driver is directed by a law-enforcement officer or other duly authorized uniformed school crossing guard to pass the school bus. This section shall apply to school buses which are equipped with warning devices prescribed in § 46.2-1090 and are painted yellow with the words “School Bus” in black letters at least eight inches high on the front and rear thereof. Only school buses which are painted yellow and equipped with the required lettering and warning devices shall be identified as school buses.
The testimony of the school bus driver, the supervisor of school buses or a law-enforcement officer that the vehicle was yellow, conspicuously marked as a school bus, and equipped with warning devices as prescribed in § 46.2-1090 is prima facie evidence that the vehicle is a school bus.
This press release was prepared by Lauren Cummings, Police Community Relations/Crime Prevention Specialist. (540) 545-7548 (office) email@example.com