Georgia Law Enforcement: Get ready for the return of school buses

As Georgia prepares for students to return to school next month, Georgia law enforcement officials are reminding motorists to obey traffic rules about school buses and school zones.

Paulding County Sheriff Gary Gulledge says his department will be turning up the heat in school zones when school starts their on Aug. 2.

The sheriff s reminding drivers to remain alert when driving in school zones or adjacent to school buses to ensure the safety of children who are being transported on roadways.  

Gulledge said deputies will be patrolling school zones as part of their daily operations and that they will also be watching for drivers that fail to stop for school buses that are loading or unloading passengers. 

Georgia Law requires drivers to stop in both directions for school buses that are displaying their flashing red lights and have the stop arm activated — except for on controlled access highways or when the highway is divided into separate roadways. After stopping, you may move only after the school bus resumes motion or the flashing red lights are no longer activated. 

Deputies with the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit urge drivers to use extreme care and to leave more space when traveling around a school bus, especially when following a school bus. 

“Drivers who are following school buses too closely are not prepared for the frequent stops made by the school bus,” Gulledge said. “Drivers should always use extreme caution when following school buses and obey the posted speed limits in the school zones.” 

The majority of fatal crashes involving school buses occurred when the school bus was struck by a smaller vehicle. 

Gulledge is also reminding drivers that a conviction for unlawfully passing a school bus carries six points on your driving record as well as a six month suspension of your driver’s license for drivers under the age of 21.

Gulledge said rivers to be alert for children waiting for the school bus especially during the early morning hours when visibility is reduced. 

“Children are not always aware of their surroundings or vehicles that may be passing by and the dangers that they pose,” he said. “Drivers should be prepared to stop when approaching children that are waiting for a school bus.”