The rules of the road for school buses

| 15/07/2016

What are the rules in regard to where school buses can stop? Twice now I have seen a school bus stop on the roundabout by Hurley’s (on the inside lane) to allow children to disembark. It appears incredibly dangerous to me to expect all traffic entering the roundabout to stop. 

Auntie’s answer: It seems almost impossible to believe that a bus driver would stop on a roundabout to let children off. And yes, all traffic would have to stop to enable safe passage back across the road. I just cannot imagine how that could happen. Next time you see that occur, if you are safely stopped somewhere, please take a photo and send it in.

Meanwhile, I can address your question, helped by Insp. Adrian Barnett, who is in charge of the RCIPS Transport Management Unit. The basic rule to remember is that school buses rule the roads. When the driver flashes the lights of the bus, traffic in both directions must stop, and stay stopped, until the lights are no longer flashing and all the children have crossed the road.

This is clearly laid out in Section 93 (1) (j) of the Traffic Law, which says that a driver commits an offence if he or she “fails to give ample clearance to a school vehicle or overtakes such vehicle while it is engaged in setting down or picking up passengers”.

Insp. Barnett added that before school starts again after the summer, the TMU plans to address safety issues for school buses by approaching the transport companies that run the buses to advise them on guidelines for the drivers to follow. Among the points to be discussed are when to put on the flashers to enable traffic to stop in time, and to make sure drivers stop the bus where it is safe for the children to get off.

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Comments (12)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Just sit on the side of Walkers Road at 3pm and watch a stream of yellow buses hurtling past at well above the speed limit. When they can’t move because the road is blocked with cars waiting to turn into Prep the buses pull out onto the wrong side of the road at speed to get past. Maybe the cars shouldn’t be allowed to block the road when waiting to get into Prep as this happens before 3 and they can be waiting for 15 minutes. It needs sorting out and the buses need to slow down!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I will not put my child on one of these buses. In a car they are restrained by law, in a bus they are exempt, so please don’t tell me that flashing lights keep my child safe. Many of these drivers are reckless and just stop wherever they feel like and often times slew the vehicle across both lanes. I have also seen them carrying only adult passengers in the uniform of a certain cleaning company and using their red lights when dropping them off.

  3. R says:

    What about school buses stopping in the left hand lane on dual carriageways? Surely if you are already travelling in the right hand lane you are not expected to stop? I am also certain that the two lanes of traffic travelling in the opposite direction will not stop.

    I have seen this situation several times and it always looks very dangerous to me and frankly drivers are not sure what the rules are.

    Perhaps school buses should not be permitted to stop on dual carriageways.

    • Anonymous says:

      No. You must stop no matter which lane you are in or which direction you are driving. That is the whole point.

      Some of the children will cross the road, and it is entirely reasonable for them to able to do so safely. The red lights don’t go off until after the last child has crossed safely. You must stop to minimise their chances of injury.

      Remember, the passengers are small children whose behaviour is not always totally predictable. You wouldn’t expect a 5 or 6 year old to cross a busy road on their own – so the stopped traffic is one thing to help make a dangerous situation a bit safer.

      • Anonymous says:

        On a dual carriage way separated by a concrete median, no one is going to stop in the opposing direction.

  4. A Nony Mouse says:

    I also noticed a school bus discharging students in the roundabout near the Prospect Primary School shortly before the end of the year. What is the procedure for the many DIVIDED HIGHWAYS where buses discharge passengers? In most countries I have looked into, the traffic must only stop in the lane(s) where the bus is located. However, I have seen students CROSSING the median and traffic lanes in the opposite direction while traffic was NOT stopped in those lanes! This is VERY dangerous.

    • Anonymous says:

      The traffic should have stopped in both directions and in all lanes so the children can cross. That’s the whole point.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is totally unreasonable and unsafe for a bus to stop on a roundabout and expect traffic from multiple directions to see and stop in time. These bus drivers need to do their part and pick a safer place to stop and minimize the hazards for children.

      • A Nony Mouse says:

        That is NOT the case in the majority of the countries from which most of our visitors and foreign workers come from, so it is unlikely they will KNOW this or follow such a convention. If the rules are established that the buses DO NOT discharge students who must cross divided roads then the problem is solved all the way around. If the children who live across the divided road are discharged ONLY on the side of the road where they live it assures that they are safe and that traffic will stop for their safety. The bus drivers need to be educated as to where to stop safely, and where NOT to stop (roundabouts, blind curves, divided roadways etc.) so that the matter will be more organized and safe for the students and the motoring public.

        The way I have seen some of these buses operate in difficult traffic situations and in violation of speed limits and posted signage, there is a long way to go before the next school year begins in establishing and ENFORCING common sense rules. Are some of these drivers the same truck drivers who flout the traffic laws on a daily basis on our roads? It seems they have some of the same bad habits when transporting our children!

  5. Graham Walker says:

    School children who use school buses a lot get used to the idea that they can safely step off the bus and cross the road without needing to look carefully. . It becomes very dangerous when the schoolchild uses a regular public bus and not thinking walk from the bus without a care in they world. They have not had it hammered into their heads that cars and trucks can pass a public bus with impunity. One young girl was in a coma for days when she walked from behind a public bus by Ocean Club and was hit. I do not know if she made a full recovery, let’s hope so.

  6. Anonymous says:

    When school starts back Inspector Adrian Barnett should go to the 3-way stop sign at Aspiration Drive and Fairbanks Road to see if he can find one single school bus that stops at those signs, either on their way in to pickup kids from school or on their way out loaded with school children.

    What the hell, he doesn’t even have to wait for school to reopen. Just go there any day of the week to see if he can find one car going through there that bothers to stop.

  7. Anonymous says: