Every school day, most children rely on school buses to reach their schools safely and return home without suffering harm. A school bus serves as a secure mode of transportation. But concerns about safety often extend beyond the vehicle itself. They also involve what happens when children exit a bus and cross streets to reach their homes or school premises.
Therefore, it is vital to understand the laws and safety measures surrounding school buses and the act of crossing streets.
School bus stop law
All motorists are required to stop when a school bus displays its flashing red lights and extends its stop arm while picking up or dropping off students as stipulated by Colorado Revised Statutes Title 42 Page 643, § 42-4-1903. This law applies to both directions of traffic, regardless of the number of lanes on the road. Drivers must remain stopped until the stop arm is retracted and the bus begins moving again. This rule applies to public, private and charter school buses.
Violating the school bus stop law can result in severe consequences, including fines and points added to a driver’s license. Moreover, the violation can be classified as a misdemeanor, which may carry more significant penalties.
Crosswalk safety laws
According to Colorado Revised Statutes Title 42 Page 496, § 42-4-802, pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks and intersections, whether marked or unmarked. This includes children who need to cross the road when going to school and returning home. According to state law, drivers must yield to pedestrians, i.e., children, and come to a complete stop when they are crossing or about to cross the roadway within a marked or unmarked crosswalk. This rule applies regardless of the location, time of day or other traffic conditions.
School zone speed limits
In addition to school bus-specific laws, there are reduced speed limits in school zones throughout the state during designated school hours. These speed limits are enforced to help safeguard children crossing streets or walking near school premises.
The safety of children during their school commute is a collective responsibility that requires adherence to laws, awareness of best practices and proactive measures to educate children on safety habits. By following the laws surrounding school buses and street crossings and instilling safety awareness in our children, a community can create a safer environment for future generations.