As schools in Alabama start back over the next few weeks, school buses will return to the roads and school zone speed limits will go back into effect in the mornings and afternoons. Therefore, it is important to understand the specific rules regarding both of these changes before adjusting back to the school traffic routine for your safety and the safety of school children on the roads.
There is often times uncertainty among drivers regarding the specific rules on stopping for school bus stops on the roads, especially if the driver is on the opposite side of the road from the school bus when it stops. According to the Alabama Code, drivers on both sides of the road are required to come to a complete stop while a school bus is stopping to load or unload children from the vehicle. Drivers must remain fully stopped until the school bus resumes motion. Failure to comply with this rule may result in a fine of up to $300 for the first conviction.
However, there is an exception to the rules on stopping for school buses. If a school bus is stopping on a divided highway with four or more lanes, the drivers on the opposite side of the road from the school bus are not required to stop. This exception does not, however, apply to drivers on the same side of the roadway as the bus, who must always stop for the bus.
When it comes to school zone speed limits, the rules are more straightforward. All roads that fall within 300 feet of school property are designated as school zones with reduced speed limits. The entrances and exits of school zones are always marked with signs indicating the reduced speed limits. In addition to obvious safety concerns for schoolchildren walking to or from school, it is also important to respect these school zones due to the hefty fine placed on those who violate them. The Alabama Code dictates that anyone caught speeding in a school zone will be charged with double the fine of a regular speeding ticket. You should always be observant when nearing a school to ensure that you are following state rules and procedures to protect school children.