Passing a School Bus – 4-128.1
Many towns in Middlesex County and elsewhere in New Jersey rely on school buses to transport children to and from school. New Jersey has strict requirements for drivers approaching school buses. Any driver who violates the law pertaining to passing a school bus may receive a citation. If you were cited for passing a school bus, you might be fined, be sentenced to imprisonment, or face other penalties. Middlesex County traffic ticket lawyer Leon Matchin is proficient at aiding people charged with this violation, and he will help you seek a positive outcome in consideration of the facts of your case. Mr. Matchin routinely represents people cited for traffic violations in Middlesex, Monmouth, and Mercer Counties.Requirements for New Jersey Drivers Approaching School Buses
New Jersey has strict laws for the manner in which drivers are required to approach school buses. Specifically, under N.J.S.A. 39:4-128.1, on a road where the lanes of travel are not separated by a physical barrier, a driver approaching a stopped school bus from either direction must stop at least 25 feet from the bus. The driver must also remain in a stopped position until the child or children have either entered the bus or exited the bus and reached the side of the road, and the bus is no longer exhibiting a flashing red light.
On roads where there is a physical barrier separating the lanes of traffic, a driver traveling on the same side of the barrier as a stopped school bus must stop at least 25 feet from the bus. The driver must wait until any children have finished entering or exiting the bus, and the bus is no longer showing a flashing red light. If the driver is approaching a stopped bus on the other side of the physical barrier, however, the driver must reduce his or her speed to 10 miles per hour. The driver may not resume his or her normal speed until he or she has passed the bus and any children entering or exiting the bus.
When a school bus is parking at a curb to pick up or drop off children, if the school is on the same side of the street where the bus is parked, drivers can pass the bus without stopping but must reduce their speed to 10 miles per hour.
The statute also states that there is a rebuttable presumption that the owner of the vehicle that was involved in the violation is the person who committed the act.Penalties for Passing a School Bus
If a person is found guilty of passing a school bus, the court will impose a fine of $100 or more, or sentence the person to imprisonment or community service for up to 15 days, or it may impose both penalties. If it is the person's second or subsequent offense of passing a school bus, the fine increases to a minimum of $250. A conviction of passing a school bus carries five motor vehicle license points and may cause an increase in insurance premiums as well. Additionally, the person's license may be revoked if the person is found to have committed a willful violation.Available Defenses to a Citation for Passing a School Bus
If you have been charged with passing a school bus, the defenses will depend on the precise facts of your case. For example, if your attorney can prove that another driver was driving your car at the time of the violation, you may be able to avoid a conviction. In cases in which the driver of the bus did not keep accurate records of when he or she activated the lights on the bus, your attorney may be able to argue that the prosecution lacks evidence that you violated the statute. In other cases, it may be prudent to attempt to negotiate a reduced charge to avoid the risk of a conviction.Meet with a Trusted Traffic Ticket Lawyer in Middlesex County
A citation for passing a school bus can detrimentally affect your driving record. If you were cited for passing a school bus, you should meet with a trusted attorney to analyze your options. Attorney Leon Matchin regularly assists people charged with traffic violations in Middlesex County, as well as in Monmouth and Mercer Counties. Mr. Matchin can be contacted via the online form or at (732) 887-2479 to schedule a free and confidential meeting.