It can be frustrating. You are already behind because you burnt your toast and had to start over, but now to top things off, you are stuck behind a big, slow, vibrantly yellow school bus. It can be tempting to speed past the lumbering giant. You might want to quickly dart by the mechanically raised stopped sign. Beware! Washington laws protect school buses and, more importantly, children from hazardous driving.
Pay attention to the white board now and remember the following rules for sharing the road with our bumblebee themed school support staff.
Most importantly, be careful when seeking to pass by a school bus (from any direction) while the bus is stopped near children. Those flashing red lights are there for a reason. Children – at any moment – may dart across the road not thinking about the dangers of traffic. While bus drivers are trained to keep their head on a swivel, there is no stopping a car quickly travelling no matter the reaction time.
Specifically, RCW 46.61.370 provides guidance on overtaking or meeting a school bus and, sure enough, drivers must stop when reaching a stopped school bus and may not accelerate until the “school bus resumes motion or the visual signals are no longer activated.” No gunning it to pass the bus!
What if the school bus is on a larger, multilane road? RCW 46.61.150 provides additional guidance. If you are travelling the same direction as the school bus, you must stop. However, drivers need not stop if – and only if – they are travelling in the opposite direction and there are either three or more marked traffic lanes or the street is divided into separate roadways.
Police do not even need to be present for drivers to get in trouble. Under RCW 46.61.372, if a school bus driver can sufficiently identify a car or driver that violates these laws, the school bus driver may complete a written report. The report is then provided to the police for investigation. If the police identify the driver, they can still be cited for violating the law based on the school bus driver’s information.
School buses are an integral part of our education system and allow thousands of children every day to attend school. Getting stuck behind a bus that stops every few blocks can be frustrating. Instead of violating Washington law and perhaps endangering kids, leave your house or work five minutes earlier to hopefully avoid the bus schedule.
If you know someone injured in a motor vehicle collision, knowing Washington law will prepare you for the inevitable fight with the insurance company. At the law offices of Magnuson Lowell, PS, we work each day to push back against at fault drivers and insurance companies. Call today for a free consultation.
Motorcycle safety is our Top priority here at Magnuson Lowell!
Pleae check out our booklet with the Top 10 Tips for Riders
You may have passed your driver’s test when you were 16-years old, but did you know that certain types of car insurance are mandatory in Washington? That’s not the only often overlooked driving law in Washington. There are dozens of laws dedicated to how drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians must act on the roads all described in RCW Chapter 46.61 – also known as the Rules of the Road. Here are just a few little-known Washington driving laws you might find interesting.
1. Driving on Sidewalk is Prohibited – Except for Bicyclists!
RCW 56.61.606 specifies that no vehicle shall drive upon a permanent or authorized sidewalk area. However, RCW 46.61.261 specifically implies that bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks. Be careful, though, while speeding down the sidewalk because bicyclists have a duty to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on all sidewalks and crosswalks.
2. Slow Drivers Must Pull Off the Road.
Driving behind a large semi-truck on a two-lane highway can be frustrating. Moving slowly behind a dilapidated mini van might have the same effect. Washington’s legislature recognizes not only this frustration, but the danger that can stem from drivers proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic. RCW 46.61.427 requires slow vehicles with five or more cars behind them to pull off the road.
3. Car Insurance is Mandatory!
Outside the Rules of the Road there are interesting tidbits as well. RCW 48.22.085 requires that no new liability insurance policy be issued for vehicles without including Personal Injury Protection insurance. PIP insurance acts like health insurance without deductibles or co-pays after you are injured while in a vehicle regardless of fault. However, PIP insurance can be expressly waived to save a few dollars per month. It’s not worth it! Similarly, the state minimum liability insurance policy is $25,000 per person up to $50,000 per accident. Trust me, that doesn’t go as far as you’d think. More is better.
4. Hitchhiking is Against the Law.
RCW 46.61.255 states soliciting a ride while standing on or along a public roadway is unlawful. There is an exception for an emergency. So if your car breaks down and you need immediate assistance, there is no violation. It’s not just hitchhiking either. Standing along the roadway to solicit employment or business is also unlawful.
These laws seek to create a safe driving environment. Of course, no system is perfect and regardless of how well you follow the laws, other drivers may ignore the Rules of the Road. If you are injured in a car accident while on the road. You may have a personal injury claim. If you find yourself injured after a crash, call the experienced attorneys at the law offices of Magnuson Lowell, P.S. for a free case evaluation.