With schools in Putnam and Dutchess County, New York, starting up this week, I wanted to pass along what could be, some little known rules that pertain to bus safety when it comes to driving behavior for our i95 New York friends.

  • 1

    Those Flashing Red Lights

    Most drivers adhere to the law of stopping your car when a school bus is flashing its red lights to let off children, BUT, did you know that New York is one of the only states in America where you must also come to a complete stop even on a divided highway! Route 211 or Route 9 are perfect examples of the "divided highway rule."

  • 2

    You Must Be 20 Feet Away When Stopped for a School Bus

    In NYS you must be, at a minimum, 20 feet away from a stopped school bus when its red lights are flashing.

  • 3

    Bus Doors Are Closed But Lights Are Still Flashing, No Passing Until Lights Are Turned Off

    Even if it appears obvious that all children have left the bus and the doors are closed, if the red lights are still flashing you still must not pass the school bus until the lights have been turned off. Even if you think the driver has forgotten to turn off the lights, you must remain stopped or risk a hefty fine.

  • 4

    A Bus Driver Has the Authority to Over Ride the Flashing Lights

    Bus drivers do have the authority to use obvious hand signals to wave cars past a school bus. This is where paying attention is key. If you get an obvious visual signal from the driver, it is OK to pass the school bus.

  • 5

    Fines and/or Jail Time

    Traffic fines are stiff in NYS when it comes to school buses. If you're a first time offender it's an automatic 5 points on our license along with a $250 to $400 fine plus the judge has the option of sending you to jail for 30 days. A second conviction will cost you between $600 and $750 and a third conviction will set you back between $750 and $1,000.