The kids are back to school, and we are seeing a ton of buses on our local roadways. We, as drivers, are going to have to start paying more attention to our driving. We need to keep our kids safe.

Local attorney Richard Kennedy wrote about this time of year and what we need to know. One of the things that stood out is that our kids are very safe. He writes,

"School buses are the safest vehicles on the road, and one of the safest modes of transportation overall. Children are much safer traveling in school buses than in any other vehicle..."

That is great to know. But, I think I know what we all want to know. The question, "When do I have to stop for a school bus on a road in Louisiana.", is one we receive countless times during a typical school year. In the last few years, things have changed slightly, and I think that has led to some confusion.

Local attorney Richard Kennedy breaks down for us what we need to know to answer this question. It's just as important to know what to do as it is what you don't have to do.

Kennedy points out that when a school bus is approaching a stop for students you will see the yellow lights come on when the bus is between 100 and 500 feet before the stop. As soon as it stops, the red lights begin flashing and the stop signs on the bus come out.

In the grahpic below, it is an example of when you do have to stop for a bus:

School Bus on Two Lane Road-1
Photo courtesy of Richard Kennedy

When Do I Have to Stop for a School Bus?

  • Anytime you are behind a school bus in traffic you must stop.
  • Anytime you are on a single-lane highway behind or opposite a school bus you must stop.
  • Anytime you are on a four-lane highway where there is nothing in the middle of the road like a continuous turn lane, ditch, or grassy median you must stop for the school bus.
  • Drivers are also not required to stop for a school bus when traveling on four-lane or five-lane roadways which are separated by a dedicated two-way left turn lane.

The graphic below shows when to stop and when you don't have to. On the left, when there is nothing dividing the road, you must stop. On the right, because there is green space, which is a divider, you don't have to stop when you are in the opposite lanes of traffic:

School Bus Graphics
Photo courtesy of Richard Kennedy

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