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Texas School Bus “Stop-Arm” Laws – What Drivers Should Know About Passing School Buses

August 17, 2019

TEXAS – As reported in an online news article published by, drivers are failing to adhere to school bus “stop-arm” laws nationwide, posing a risk of harm to children as they enter and exit the school bus.*

In late 2018 into early 2019, a substantial number of children were injured and killed because of drivers who drove around school buses instead of stopping as required by the “stop-arm” that is extended when children are getting on and off a school bus.  

Between August 2018 and March 2019, a total of 12 children died and 47 children were injured in stop-arm related accidents.  With each accident, drivers failed to adhere to a school bus stop arm.

While all states have stop-arm laws that prohibit drivers from maneuvering around stopped school buses that have their stop-arms extended, there are some variations among the states.  In Texas, the stop-arm law states the following: 

“If you approach a school bus from either direction and the bus is displaying alternate flashing red lights, you must stop. Do not pass the school bus until: the school bus has resumed motion, or you are signaled by the driver to proceed, or the red lights are no longer flashing. It isn't necessary to stop when passing a school bus on a different road or when on a controlled-access highway where the bus is stopped in a loading zone and pedestrians aren't permitted to cross.”

According to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, fatal school bus accidents can happen daily, resulting in severe injuries and fatalities.  Additionally, the Kansas Department of Education, which conducts a 1-day count of school bus passing incidents each year, found that an estimated 15 million vehicles may be improperly passing school buses transporting students each year.

Late 2018 saw 5 tragic school bus accidents that collectively killed 5 children and injured 6 others.  These accidents happened in Indiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Pennsylvania.  Because school bus accidents involving drivers who fail to adhere to an extended stop-arm are resulting in a significant number of deaths and injuries, many states have implemented stop-arm camera laws to help track down drivers who choose to violate the law.

The 22 states to implement stop-arm camera laws include the following: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Accident News is a driver safety and education initiative from Montlick & Associates, designed to help people better understand and thereby avoid common accident causes.  To learn more about our injury prevention programs, including - click here. We hope you are never in an accident, but if you or family member are injured, call Montlick & Associates 24/7 for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) or use our live chat at


* This blog is intended to provide the public with news concerning serious automobile accidents and related stories. Although we are receiving this information from news organizations, initial reports may be different from conclusions reached by law enforcement personnel and other organizations, upon further investigation. Therefore, the accuracy of the content is not guaranteed. The information published here is based on information that has already been reported by a news organization, or other sources, and we cannot and do not assume responsibility for its accuracy. The source that we utilized at the time is provided above. If this posting pertains to you or your family and you do not wish for it to be on our website, please email us at [email protected] and we will be happy to remove it, but when doing so, please include a link to the the article that you wish to be taken down.

Category: Accident News

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.