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What is the new school bus passing rule in Georgia?

There are many things it is important for motorists to do when driving near school buses. One is to follow the rules related to stopping for buses that have their stop arms engaged.

Now, this school year, these rules are a little different here in Georgia than has been the case in the past. As our readers may have heard, the state’s laws related to stopping for school buses changed over the summer.

The new law went into effect at the start of July. It slightly loosened Georgia’s rules for stopping for school buses. It is important for Georgia motorists to understand what the new law does and does not change.

The new law makes no changes to the rules related to cars that are traveling behind a school bus in the same direction as the bus. It remains the case that such vehicles are always to stop and to not pass the bus when the bus has its stop arm out.

Rather, the change touches on cars that are traveling the opposite direction of a school bus. Generally, such vehicles also have to stop when a bus engages its stop arm. However, the recent law carves out a new exception to this. Under the recent law change, when there is a center turn lane (or similar feature) between a school bus and vehicles traveling in the opposite direction, the vehicles going in the opposite direction generally no longer need to stop when the bus has the stop arm out.

How drivers act around school buses has very big ramifications. For one, it can greatly impact the safety of school kids. So, one hopes that, when passing a school bus from the opposite direction under the circumstances where this is allowed under the recent law change, drivers make sure to remain attentive and act appropriately for the circumstances. Also, one hopes all drivers continue stop in situations in which passing school buses with the stop arm up remains prohibited.

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