As Tennessee schools are starting back to school, the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) wanted to make drivers aware of the rules and penalties for improperly passing a school bus. Tennessee Law 55-8-151 addresses the overtaking and passing school busses while unloading/loading passengers and the penalties.
The Tennessee law states: The driver of a vehicle upon a highway, upon meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus that has stopped on the highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children, shall stop the vehicle before reaching the school bus, and the driver shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or is signaled by the school bus driver to proceed or the visual signals are no longer actuated. Subsection (a) shall also apply to a school bus with lights flashing and stop sign extended and marked in accordance with this subsection (a) that is stopped upon property owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution, if the bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children outside a protected loading zone.
All motor vehicles used in transporting school children to and from school in this state are required to be distinctly marked “School Bus” on the front and rear thereof in letters of not
less than six inches (6”) in height, and so plainly written or printed and so arranged as to be legible to persons approaching the school bus, whether traveling in the same or opposite direction.
The driver of a vehicle upon a highway with separate roadways need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus that is on a different roadway or when upon a controlled-access highway and the school bus is stopped in a loading zone that is a part of or adjacent to the highway and where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway. For the purpose of this subsection (a), “separate roadways” means roadways divided by an intervening space that is not suitable to vehicular traffic.
Except as otherwise provided by subdivisions (a) (1)-(3), the school bus driver is required to stop the school bus on the right-hand side of the road or highway, and the driver shall cause the bus to remain stationary and the visual stop signs on the bus actuated, until all school children who should be discharged from the bus have been so discharged and until all children whose destination causes them to cross the road or highway at that place have negotiated the crossing.
It is a Class C misdemeanor for any person to fail to comply with any provision of this subsection (a) other than the requirement that a motor vehicle stop upon approaching a school bus.
It is a Class A misdemeanor punishable only by a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for any person to fail to comply with the provision of this subsection (a) requiring a motor vehicle to stop upon approaching a school bus.
Be alert and allow our children to arrive to and from school safely without harm.
The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to serve, secure, and protect the people of Tennessee.