MANASSAS CITY, Va. — As students return Monday to Manassas City and Prince William County public schools, and Tuesday to Fairfax County, local police are reminding drivers about school bus traffic laws — which breaking can bring a hefty fine, and even jail time.
Did you pass a clearly-marked, stopped school bus with its stop-arm extended and red lights flashing? You could be fined upwards of $250.
However, that same infraction could also be interpreted as reckless driving — under Virginia law, a class-one misdemeanor that could land you up to a year in jail, and a fine of $2,500.
According to Virginia law, drivers must stop more than 10 feet from the bus both when they are following from behind or when the bus is oncoming from the opposite direction.
An exception is when there is a physical median between traffic.
In addition, Manassas City police say drivers should never pass a school bus on the right.
In general, safety experts suggest remaining alert near school buses, since children are likely to be running to or from buses.
Abide by school zone traffic zones and yield the right of way to pedestrians crossing the street.
Police say if you are dropping-off or picking-up at a school, avoid double-parking, as it blocks visibility for other drivers.