Children, unlike adults, are not overly concerned about their safety. This is why Louisiana laws seek to protect schoolchildren from danger and keep school zones as safe as possible. We answered some frequently asked questions about Louisiana school bus stop laws.
What Is the School Bus Stop Law in Louisiana?
You can find the school bus stop laws in Louisiana Laws Revised Statutes Title 32 Section 80. Louisiana school bus stop laws mandate motorists who come across a school bus that is not moving to stop at a safe distance. So, if a school bus has stopped to pick up or drop off children, you must stop until it starts moving again.
The reason for the provision is that schoolchildren may not be paying adequate attention to the road while crossing the road to enter a school bus or after disembarking from one. The law, therefore, places the responsibility on adults to keep the area around school buses as safe as possible.
How Far Do You Have To Stop Behind a School Bus in Louisiana?
Louisiana law requires you to stop not less than 30 feet from a school bus that is not in motion. You are to remain at that spot until the school bus starts moving again or when it stops displaying its visual signals.
Does Louisiana Require Drivers To Stop for School Buses?
Yes. The law requires you to stop when you meet a school bus that has stopped to load or unload children on the highway. You must stop whether you are meeting the bus or traveling behind it.
There are additional rules. If the school bus has stopped and you are driving on four-lane or five-lane roadways without separating barriers, the law still expects you to stop. When you have stopped, you must wait until the bus moves again or when the visual warning signals go off.
However, you do not have to stop when the bus has stopped in a loading zone that is not on the roadway as long as pedestrians are not allowed to cross the roadway. Also, you don’t have to stop if you are driving in the opposite direction of a school bus on a divided highway. You don’t have to stop if there is a barrier, such as an elevated concrete, ditch, grassy median, or any obstacle that prevents traffic from crossing over.
Finally, if there’s a middle turning lane and two lanes on each side of the road, only cars going in the same direction as the bus need to stop.
What Happens if You Don’t Stop for a School Bus in Louisiana?
You could face punishment if you don’t stop for a school bus in Louisiana. The law requires school bus drivers to report violations to the appropriate law enforcement agency within 24 hours. The report must be in writing in the form provided by the school board. It must also contain the license plate number and color of the vehicle. The driver will sign it in the presence of two witnesses.
The driver will send the notice to the appropriate law enforcement agency by mail, fax, or electronically. When the agency gets the report, they may issue a citation to the vehicle owner based on that information. If it is a leased vehicle, they may issue the citation to the lessee of the vehicle involved.
What Is the Penalty for Failing To Stop for a School Bus in Louisiana?
An offender who fails to stop for a school bus will face penalty depending on the effect of their noncompliance:
- Where there’s no injury: If the violation doesn’t result in injury, serious bodily injury, or death, you could face a fine ranging from one hundred to five hundred dollars, imprisonment for up to six months, or both. Additionally, your driver’s license may be suspended as per Revised Statute 32:414(A)(2).
- Where it involves injury: In case of injury, the penalty escalates to a fine between two hundred and five hundred dollars. The offender’s driver’s license may be suspended for up to ninety days or both. They can also face imprisonment for up to six months.
- Where it involves serious bodily injury: If the violation results in serious bodily injury, the punishment is a fine between five hundred and one thousand dollars. Their driver’s license could be suspended for up to 180 days or both. They can also face imprisonment for up to six months.
- Where it causes death: If the violation leads to the death of another person, the offender could get a fine ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Also, their driver’s license could be suspended for up to 360 days, or as provided in Revised Statute 32:414(A)(2), or both. The offender can also face imprisonment for up to twelve months.
Are There Other Driving Rules Around School Zones?
There are additional rules aimed at keeping school zones in Louisiana safe.
School Zone Speed Limit
In Louisiana, observing the speed limit in school zones is crucial for the safety of students and pedestrians. State law imposes a maximum speed of 20 mph in school zones, although some schools may display even lower limits, such as 15 mph. Pay close attention to posted signs indicating the speed limit and any specific time restrictions.
The speed limits could be applicable the entire school day or during designated drop-off and pickup hours (e.g., 7:00-9:00 and 2:00-4:00). You must maintain the specified speed until you reach the sign signaling the end of the school zone.
No Passing in School Zones
Passing or overtaking other vehicles is strictly prohibited in school zones. Even if it’s passing a stopped vehicle.
Additionally, school zones in Louisiana are hands-free zones. This means texting or talking on your phone while driving through these zones is prohibited. If necessary, use a hands-free device to take a phone call, and keep your attention on the road and the safety of the school environment.
School Training Solutions: State Laws: Stopping for School Buses