Schools Will Be Starting Soon
The Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds drivers that schools will begin soon, and young people will be on the move -- walking, biking, and driving to school. It is critical for drivers to be alert, especially near school zones, playgrounds, and bicycle paths. Traffic patterns will change as school buses and parents taking their children to school join other motorists on the road. Both additional vehicles and parents taking students to school before going to work will affect the morning and afternoon commute. Whatever route you drive, expect this additional traffic and prepare by allowing extra time to reach your destination.
Revised Missouri Statute (RSMO) 304.050. 1. Requires the driver of a vehicle upon a highway upon meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus which has stopped on the highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children and whose driver has in the manner prescribed by law given the signal to stop, shall stop the vehicle before reaching such school bus and shall not proceed until such school bus resumes motion, or until signaled by its driver to proceed.
The driver of a school bus in the process of loading or unloading students upon a street or highway shall activate the mechanical and electrical signaling devices, in the manner prescribed by the state board of education, to communicate to drivers of other vehicles that students are loading or unloading. A public school district shall have the authority pursuant to this section to adopt a policy which provides that the driver of a school bus in the process of loading or unloading students upon a divided highway of four or more lanes may pull off of the main roadway and load or unload students without activating the mechanical and electrical signaling devices in a manner which gives the signal for other drivers to stop and may use the amber signaling devices to alert motorists that the school bus is slowing to a stop; provided that the passengers are not required to cross any traffic lanes and also provided that the emergency flashing signal lights are activated in a manner which indicates that drivers should proceed with caution, and in such case, the driver of a vehicle may proceed past the school bus with due caution. No driver of a school bus shall take on or discharge passengers at any location upon a highway consisting of four or more lanes of traffic, whether or not divided by a median or barrier, in such manner as to require the passengers to cross more than two lanes of traffic; nor shall any passengers be taken on or discharged while the vehicle is upon the road or highway proper unless the vehicle so stopped is plainly visible for at least five hundred feet in each direction to drivers of other vehicles in the case of a highway with no shoulder and a speed limit greater than sixty miles per hour and at least three hundred feet in each direction to drivers of other vehicles upon other highways, and on all highways, only for such time as is actually necessary to take on and discharge passengers.
The driver of a vehicle upon a highway with separate roadways need not stop upon meeting or overtaking a school bus which is on a different roadway, or which is proceeding in the opposite direction on a highway containing four or more lanes of traffic, or which is stopped in a loading zone constituting a part of, or adjacent to, a limited or controlled access highway at a point where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.
In simple terms, when a school bus stops to load or unload school children, the driver activates the mechanical and electrical signaling devices to notify other drivers of an impending stop. Amber warning lights will flash 500 feet before the bus comes to a designated stop. When the school bus is stopped, the alternate flashing red lights and the stop signal arm are activated. Oncoming and following traffic must stop before they reach the bus when these signals are activated.
You must stop:
1. On a 2-lane road where the vehicles travel in either direction.
2. On a 2-lane road that is a one-way street.
No driver of a school bus shall take on or discharge passengers at any location upon a highway consisting of four or more lanes of traffic, whether or not divided by a median or barrier, in such a manner as to require the passengers to cross more than two lanes of traffic. The following are three situations when you do not have to stop:
1. When you are traveling the opposite direction of a school bus on a highway divided by a median where the vehicles traveling one direction are on a totally separate road from the vehicles traveling the opposite direction;
2. When you are traveling the opposite direction of a school bus on a highway containing four or more lanes of traffic;
3. When a school bus is stopped in a loading zone (at a school) where students are not permitted to cross the roadway.
After stopping for a school bus that is unloading school children, watch for school children walking along the side of the road.
You must remain stopped until the bus moves or the bus driver signals for you to proceed.
Proceed with caution.
If any vehicle is witnessed by a peace officer or the driver of a school bus to have violated the provisions of this section and the identity of the operator is not otherwise apparent, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that the person in whose name such vehicle is registered committed the violation. In the event that charges are filed against multiple owners of a motor vehicle, only one of the owners may be convicted and court costs may be assessed against only one of the owners. If the vehicle which is involved in the violation is registered in the name of a rental or leasing company and the vehicle is rented or leased to another person at the time of the violation, the rental or leasing company may rebut the presumption by providing the peace officer or prosecuting authority with a copy of the rental or lease agreement in effect at the time of the violation. No prosecuting authority may bring any legal proceedings against a rental or leasing company under this section unless prior written notice of the violation has been given to that rental or leasing company by registered mail at the address appearing on the registration and the rental or leasing company has failed to provide the rental or lease agreement copy within fifteen days of receipt of such notice.
Revised Missouri Statute 304.070 states any person who violates 304.050 is guilty of a class A misdemeanor. In addition, beginning July 1, 2005, the court may suspend the driver's license of any person who violates the provision of subsection 1 of section 304.050. If ordered by the court, the director shall suspend the driver's license for ninety days for a first offense of subsection 1 of section 304.050, and one hundred twenty days for a second or subsequent offense of subsection 1 of section 304.050. Any person who violates subsection 1 of section 304.050 where such violation results in the injury of any child shall be guilty of a class D felony. Any person who violates subsection 1 of section 304.050 where such violation causes the death of any child shall be guilty of a class C felony.
Any appeal of a suspension imposed under subsection 1 of this section shall be a direct appeal of the court order and subject to review by the presiding judge of the circuit court or another judge within the circuit other than the judge who issued the original order to suspend the driver's license. The director of revenue's entry of the court-ordered suspension on the driving record is not a decision subject to review pursuant to section 302.311, RSMo. Any suspension of the driver's license ordered by the court under this section shall be in addition to any other suspension that may occur as a result of the conviction pursuant to other provisions of law.
By working together, communities can help our children travel to and from school safely. Our children are our future, let’s protect it.