Oklahoma Car Accident Lawyers

Can You Pass a School Bus in Oklahoma?

Drivers who approach a school bus with lights flashing and/or a stop sign extended must stop before reaching the school bus and remain stopped until it is safe to proceed.

Failure to follow these and other traffic statutes can result in the loss of the driver’s license for a year or more and fines.

When Do I Have to Stop for an Oklahoma School Bus?

Traffic laws regarding school bus safety are some of the most important laws on the books. They are designed to protect young lives.

The loading and offloading of unpredictable children is a vulnerable moment in traffic that plays out almost every day. Children can’t always be expected to make safe decisions and that’s why the burden of responsibility falls to drivers.

Drivers should always slow down when they are near a school bus, even if the bus isn’t stopping and there are no children in sight. It’s the best way to make sure a vehicle can stop in case of an emergency.

According to the Oklahoma Driver Manual published in 2023, drivers in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, and anywhere else in the state must always be ready to come to a stop in case a school bus is suddenly ready to pick up or discharge child passengers.

If the red lights of the bus are flashing and/or the stop sign is extended, drivers are expected to slow to a stop before overtaking the bus.

Motorists must remain at a full stop until one of the following occurs:

  • The bus has started moving again…
  • Or, the bus driver motions traffic to proceed…
  • Or, the flashing red lights go off and the sign has been retracted.

These mandates would also apply to a church bus encountered on an Oklahoma road.

When Can I Pass a School Bus in Oklahoma?

You can pass a school bus as long as it doesn’t have red lights flashing or a stop sign extended.  However, you should slow down whenever you see a school bus and be ready to stop if you spot a child near the road.

Oklahoma traffic codes go further into when you wouldn’t have to stop for a school bus that is loading and offloading children.

47 OK Stat § 11-705

“C. The driver of a vehicle upon a highway with separate roadways need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus which is on a different roadway or when upon a controlled-access highway and the school bus is stopped in a loading zone which is a part of or adjacent to such highway and where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.”

Penalties for Drivers Who Pass Stopped School Buses?

In Oklahoma, your driver’s license is taken from you for a minimum of one year if you are convicted of passing a stopped school bus with red loading/unloading lights in use.

The statute cited above also covers the fines convicted drivers can face:

“Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this subsection shall be punished by a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00). In addition to the fine, a special assessment of One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) shall be assessed…”

Reckless drivers must also consider the consequences of a tragic accident that claims the life of a child at a bus stop. Beyond the tragedy of a life taken so early, under Oklahoma’s Aaron’s Law, drivers would be guilty of negligent homicide, a felony. Convicted felons would be subject to prison time.

Am I Being Videotaped If I Pass a Stopped School Bus?

In some cases, yes. In Oklahoma, a 2019 law allowed schools to install cameras on school buses. The cameras permit investigators to send out tickets to violators based on video evidence.

Some of the fines accessed on bad drivers are being used to fund more and more cameras for installation on buses. Give this idea some thought the next time you are traveling near a school bus.

Contact an Oklahoma School Bus Accident Lawyer

If your child is hurt due to the careless actions of a driver, please take advantage of a free, no-obligation consultation with a real Oklahoma personal injury lawyer. Your child will need full support from car insurance companies to be able to afford the best care available.

Young victims also need to be secure for the future. An injury now could disappear, only to flare up as victims enter their teen years. Old injuries can cause issues with development. Victims might need additional surgeries and physical therapy years down the road.

Without a skilled lawyer protecting your child, insurance companies can get away with providing far less than is needed for the full recovery of a young victim.