Not stopping for the bus could mean jail time

Columbia (WACH)"It TMs the time of year when traffic moves just a bit slower, as school busses once again become commonplace in the motoring public. Although bus laws, Section 56-5-2770 of South Carolina code, are taught in driver ed, and are tested on before a license is issued, many drivers are less than sure about them. I feel pretty confident you don TMt have to stop on a divided highway, said one unidentified motorist, but, its been a long time since I read that DMV book.

According to Fox News, each year in the Nation, school buses travel about 4.3 billion miles, transporting 23.5 million students to school and school related actives. Even with all those miles, some sources report only about 144 bus accidents annually.

Cpl. Billy Elder of the South Carolina Highway Patrol says that violating the school bus laws is a serious offense in South Carolina, where an average speeding ticket is simply a violation, with a fine and points, failing to stop for a bus can result is a misdemeanor and can carry fine of 1 thousand dollars and jail time.

Cpl. Elder explains that there have been some changes in the law over the last few years, including when a driver has to stop. According to Cpl. Elder oncoming traffic, when on a multi-lane highway, divided or undivided, are not required to stop. With that change, many routes were changed so that children do not have to cross the multi-lanes to get on the bus. Cpl Elder says that there are many children who are riding the bus for the first time, which means drivers should take extra care, and keep safety in their thoughts when traveling near bus stops.

The Trooper also offers advice to children who are walking to their bus, including utilizing sidewalks and other safety measures, wearing light or reflective clothing, and even consider using alternate routes if they are safer.

Schools open this week across the Midlands. For complete list of South Carolina school districts, including openings and contact information click HERE.