Again, the rule on stopping for a school bus

The in basket: Carol Haskins of Poulsbo asks “In Washington, are drivers required to stop for a school bus that is stopped on a three-lane road, and the center lane is a two-way turn lane?”

The out basket: Regular readers of the Road Warrior column probably know the answer to this one, as I’ve addressed it several times before.

But maybe today I can educate a few more drivers who stop when they don’t have to. It’s not often a person who knows the law isn’t stuck behind one who doesn’t.

Every car following a bus must stop when the bus has its red lights blinking and side ‘stop’ paddle out, regardless of how many lanes are traveling in that direction. So do all drivers coming in the other direction on a two-lane road.

But as Carol’s question suggests, if there is a lane between your lane and the one the bus is in, even a one- or two-way turn lane, there is no requirement to stop.

If it’s not a law, it’s common practice for school districts to not allow children to be let off a school bus where they’d have to cross three lanes to get to the other shoulder.

5 thoughts on “Again, the rule on stopping for a school bus

  1. If this is the case then why even use the red lights at all. Wouldn’t it make more sense to use the hazard lights to notify the drivers behind the bus that the bus will be stopping (sort of like a public bus)?

  2. Be careful!!! NKSD often stops at CROSSWALKS when stopping at 3+ lane road… opposing traffic may not have to stop for school bus, but a soon as a kid steps off, crosswalk is “occupied”.

  3. Actually, Jerry, if the road is 3+ lanes, then traffic coming from the opposite direction of the bus does not have to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk until they are in the middle lane (for 3 lanes), or lane closest to their side of the road (road with 4 or more lanes). See RCW 46.61.235

    1. Agreed… but more than once the “little kids” hit the crosswalk then dash across the street…
      Just use caution, kids are unpredicable.

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