School Bus Flashing Lights and Stop Signs

School buses have flashing lights and stop paddles which indicate that cars must NOT pass the bus.

school bus with stop paddleAs the 2016-2017 school year begins, drivers should be alert to traffic regulations for school buses.  When a bus stops with lights flashing and extends its “stop paddle” then the rule is that no cars can pass alongside the bus.

In Washington, all motorists traveling in the same direction as a school bus must stop when the bus’ stop sign “paddle” is extended and its red lights are flashing. Drivers traveling in the opposite direction must stop on two-lane roads but not if the roadway has three or more lanes, including turn lanes.

Yellow flashing lights on the front and back indicate a bus is about to stop to load or unload students, so motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop.

A one-day count in May 2013 showed hundreds of Seattle motorists passing school buses while lights flashed and the stop paddle was extended, creating an unsafe situation for children getting on or off of the bus.  Let’s slow down, be alert to the presence of school buses and take care of one another.

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