What are the rules regarding stopping for a school bus in Texas? That should be a relatively easy question to answer. However, if the lessons learned in your driver’s education class are hazy, it’s a good idea to brush up on Texas school bus stop rules as soon as possible.

School bus safety is taken very seriously in Texas. And if you’re a regular driver in the Lone Star State, you can avoid costly tickets, felony charges, and other unwanted consequences just by knowing and following the state’s laws regarding when to stop for a school bus.   

Texas School Bus Stop Rules

So when do you stop for a school bus in Texas? The following scenarios and rules will help make things clear:

Flashing Red Lights

The best rule of thumb is to remember that flashing red lights always mean “stop.” All school buses in Texas come equipped with extending stop signs, and these usually have red lights that flash to indicate other drivers must stop. 

If you see a school bus with its stop sign extended but no flashing red lights, you should still treat it as though its lights are on. Anytime a school bus’s stop sign is extended, there’s a risk of children entering or exiting the vehicle. 

It’s also important to know that stopping for a school bus is required of all drivers on the road, regardless of the direction they are traveling in. If you’re approaching a stopped school bus on the other side of the road, you must stop and wait for the driver to retract the bus’s stop sign. 

According to the Texas Driver Handbook, there are only two exceptions in which drivers can pass a school bus with flashing red lights. One is if the bus continues moving with the lights left on, and the other is if the school bus driver clearly indicates that you can (or should) pass. 

Other Texas School Bus Rules

Texas school buses sometimes display flashing yellow lights, and these can be a source of confusion for other drivers. Technically, Texas drivers don’t have to stop for flashing yellow lights. But the lights do indicate that the bus is slowing down and preparing to stop. 

Therefore, if you see yellow flashing lights on a school bus, it’s best to slow down and prepare to stop. Trying to overtake a bus with flashing yellow lights means you might end up passing it as it switches its lights to red. 

Drivers should also be aware that Texas school bus stop rules require school buses transporting children to stop at all railroad crossings. Drivers don’t always expect a school bus to stop in the middle of the road, which means school buses stopping at railroad crossings often make for a situation that leads to accidents. If you see or know that railroad tracks are up ahead, be aware that any school bus ahead of you may stop in the middle of the road. 

Texas Penalties For Passing a Stopped School Bus

There are serious penalties in place in Texas for drivers who violate the state’s laws regarding passing school buses, especially if a bus accident occurs thereafter. 

These penalties are as follows: 

  • First conviction: Fine of $500 to $1,250
  • Second conviction: Fine of $1,000 to $2,000 and possible license suspension 
  • With serious bodily injury: Fine of up to $4,000 and up to a year in jail

If you have a prior conviction for passing a stopped school bus and causing a bodily injury, a second offense is deemed a felony. You can face up to two years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. 

Protect Yourself From Texas School Bus Infractions

Violating Texas school bus laws can result in serious consequences, so it’s a good idea to know the laws well and always exercise caution around school buses. If you end up involved in a school bus crash and you’re blamed for the accident, the best way to protect yourself is by consulting a Texas bus accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth personal injury lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.

Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 300
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 420-7000

Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
109 York Ave Suite #201
Weatherford, TX 76086
(817) 409-7000