I am concerned that all the cold weather has frozen our minds. Or at least the minds of some people who have been driving on Main Street in New Paltz. Over the last 24 hours, I have seen two different posts reminding people that you have to stop for a stopped school bus.

New Paltz Police Department Gets Involved

The reminder this morning (February 10, 2022) on Facebook actually came from the New Paltz Police Department. Apparently, they have been receiving complaints that drivers have been passing and going around stopped school buses. It has happened enough that one social media post claimed to see the police park in the area to observe any drivers who may have forgotten a very important rule of the road.

I am always confused when something like this becomes an issue. Stopping for school buses that have stopped to let kids on or off the bus is not a new concept. Going around a stopped school bus is not a legal option. You also have to stop for the bus if you are coming from the opposite direction. This includes roads like 9w in Orange and Ulster Counties and Route 9 in Dutchess county.

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Passing School Buses in New Paltz

Apparently, there has been an uptick in people driving past and around stopped school buses on Main Street in New Paltz. I am sure if we asked every bus driver in the Hudson Valley, we would find out that this dangerous and illegal activity is happening in many towns, not just New Paltz.

So when do people think the law change? Or scarier, do they not even realize that it is a law? I know it was law when I rode the bus to school. I also know it was a question on the New York State Driver's test I took many years ago. The New York DMV has broken it down nicely online but here are the highlights for those who don't know the law.

New York State DMV School Bus Law

When a school bus stops and flashes its red lights, traffic approaching from either direction must stop before reaching the bus: (New York DMV)

  • on a two-lane road
  • on multi-lane highways
  • on divided highways

When a stopped school bus flashes its red light(s), traffic that approaches from either direction, even in front of the school and in school parking lots, must stop before it reaches the bus. You should stop at least 20 feet (6 m) away from the bus. You can identify this bus by a "SCHOOL BUS" sign, the red lights on the top, and its unique yellow-orange color. (NYS DMV - Passing)

 

I hope this has clarified the issue for anyone who was under the impression you could go around or pass a school bus that is stopped.