Failing To Stop For A School Bus in NY – VTL 1174(a)

We are often asked about New York school bus tickets under Vehicle And Traffic Law Section 1174(a). They are commonly enforced in order to protect you entering and exiting children.

So how much is a ticket for passing a school bus? A New York school bus tickets carry a whopping 5 points and there is a $250 to $400 fine for passing a school bug for a first offense.  For a second conviction for failure to stop for a school bus ticket, the fine is $600 to $750, and for a third conviction, the fine is $750 to $1,000.  The high fine amounts reflect the Legislature’s desire to deter these dangerous violations.

Of course, these ranges of fines do not include the $70 additional New York State surcharge imposed on all moving violations.  Additionally it does not include the Driver Assessment Fee that is imposed on motorists who accumulate 6 or more points on their licenses.  This fee is $300 for 6 points and $75 for every point above 6.  If a motorist has any other points, a school bus conviction will make him or her subject to the Driver Assessment Fee.

Further, if a motorist is convicted of this charge within 3 years of one another, the DMV will impose a 6-month revocation of license and there will be re-instatement fees following the revocation period.

There another issue involving school bus tickets issued under VTL 1174(a).  It is not widely known (or enforced) but a judge can also impose up to 30 days in jail for a first violation, and 180 days for a second or third violation.

One final cost of passing a school bus in NY ticket conviction involves your automobile insurance rates.  By law, a New York insurance company cannot raise your rates for one school bus ticket if you have an otherwise clean record.  For multiple convictions of moving violations, however, your auto insurance rates can be hiked.  The only option to address a hike is to take a Driver Safety Class that takes 10% off your insurance rates.

As you can see, there are many costs associated with school bus tickets.  You therefore should always stop when approaching a stopped school bus.

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243 Comments. Leave new

  • I was issued a failure to stop on Roosevelt Island. The bus was *parked* and discharching children, with the lights on; however, the Public Safety officer in front was letting cars go, both directions. This is the standard procedure here. The PSD officer behind kept letting cars on the island. I stopped though, horns were honking because traffic was all backed up, so I crept my car up to discharge my own child. The PSD officer in front decided to give me a ticket, but not anyone else. Then, on the morning of the 60th day after being issued the ticket, I received an email that it wasn’t entered in the DMV database. Later that evening (8:50 pm), I received an email it was entered. How can they enter the ticket at the 11th hour, AFTER I received an email that their time was up? Also, I have a witness, GoPro footage, and a court date in a few days. Does the officer have to show for this?

    Reply
    • Anna K,

      DMV can enter this ticket belatedly There is no set deadline.

      Yes, the police officer must show at your hearing.

      Good luck!

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • kingsley quainoo
    February 9, 2018 5:26 pm

    i unintentionally passed a school bus with red stop signals on. I was frustrated when driving at that time. I immediate released i did the worst thing. Even though i wasn’t pulled over by any police i am very worried what might happen. Can someone please provide me any information on how to go about with. Im totally worried

    Reply
    • kingsley quainoo,

      Given that you were not stopped at the scene, I doubt that you’ll get a ticket for this.

      Be careful in the future. The safety of children is paramount.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I was given a failure to stop for school bus stop sign in Bronx (holland ave / morris park ave ) early morning 8:40am on a busy road Morris Park ave. It was snowing heavily early morning, and I didn’t see the bus stop sign. But I am absolutely certain that no bus sign was extended when I passed by the bus.

    The cop pulled me over almost instantly within 5 to 10 secs even before I came to a stop on a traffic light 1 1/2 blocks away. He claimed I didn’t stop and I was the first car to approach bus when sign was fully extended. I declined to accept his statement. Since it was a long bus, it had two signs one towards the end of bus and other next to driver. If both signs were up and I passed by then none of the cars behind me would have been parallel to the bus. Yet he claimed they all stopped. He also claimed he was 3 cars behind me yet he stopped me almost immediately as I passed by the bus. Did he also violate the bus stop sign?

    Additionally as per Cops claim that he and 3 other cars had stopped and if they were behind the bus then they would been at a traffic light blocking the intersection. They weren’t!!! cars behind me were parallel to the bus. There was a car in front of me and it did not stop.

    Cop said I wasn’t paying attention and hence missed the sign, I absolutely was. Once I crossed the bus and I moved into the right lane and had yet to stop when his lights were up.

    If the sign got extended as I crossed by, I wouldn’t have noticed as it was in my peripheral vision. I am absolutely certain that when i crossed the bus there was no stop sign extended.

    My last ticket was turning without a signal almost 3 years ago. Since then I had no tickets.

    Is it advisable to request a hearing?

    I know it’s my words vs Cop’s but I cannot accept the fact that the signs were up before I approached the bus or even passed.

    Reply
  • I passed a school bus with its yellow lights flashing. I wasn’t pulled over, but I understand busses now have cameras to catch things like this. This only happened three days ago, should I expect a ticket/summons in the mail?

    The car is registered to my father and not me, so I imagine the ticket would be addressed to him. If that’s the case, would the case be nulled since he was not the operator?

    I have a surgically clean record, and have two driving jobs that would be in jeopardy if I got a moving violation. I’m hoping that kind of sob story would have some weight, if I’m tried/summoned.

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      December 3, 2017 3:07 pm

      Anon,

      Good news! I seriously doubt that you’ll get a camera ticket for this “offense”.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
      • are you just saying that because you don’t work with camera cases, or is it actually unlikely? i know this April the state took a new stand on these.

        Reply
    • It’s ok to pass it with the yellow lights flashing. If the red lights are flashing and the stop sign is out then it’s a problem.

      Reply
    • kingsley quainoo
      February 9, 2018 5:15 pm

      hi Anon please how did you addressed this issue as it just happened to today. Im so worried and keep thinking about it.

      Reply
  • Hello,

    Today I was pulled over for passing a school bus with it’s stop signs up and lights flashing on the opposing lane. This road had one wide lane each way. There were a few cars in front of me that were passing this bus. A police officer showed up and pulled me over and one car in front of me. I told the officer that I was just following traffic and did not realize that the bus had the sign up because the traffic was moving, and only noticed the bus after I had passed it.

    Can I argue that I was moving because of the traffic in front of me? Is it worth a try? Will it hurt me if I plead not guilty? I see there is a possibility of 30 days in jail, I want to avoid this at all costs.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Al

    Reply
    • AI,

      Can I argue that I was moving because of the traffic in front of me? You can argue it but I don’t think this argument is persuasive.

      Will it hurt me if I plead not guilty? No. Jail is not likely but, as you write, it is possible.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I was behind a school bus turning into a SUNY roadway. When the bus reached the first
    crosswalk he pulled over to the curb. I went around him thinking this was a signal for
    me to pass, like they do on the highways in my county. The bus pulls over to the shoulder and
    cars behind pass the bus. I was photographed “passing a stopped bus”. At the end of the
    day, the camera pictures are turned into SUNY police. They contacted my daughter as they
    thought she was driving. When she said she had not been driving they told her to tell me to
    call the office as they had a ticket for me. No law enforcement personnel witnessed this event.
    I am due to pick up my ticket on Monday. Advice?

    Reply
    • Michelle L,

      You should plead not guilty. If you do, you may be able to get this offense reduced to a less serious charge.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
      • Michelle Lalonde
        November 29, 2017 10:03 pm

        I pled not guilty to the charge and received notice today of a non-jury trial scheduled for 12/27/17. They have the SUNY campus officer as the reporter. As I told you before
        no law enforcement was present and this is all based on “camera”. If in fact there is
        something on camera it cannot possibly show me passing a stopped, red lights flashing, and stop arm extended because it never happened. I have no idea what the “camera” is showing. Also, my daughter was a passenger and she agrees there were no flashing lights on this bus when I went around him. Advice?

        Reply
        • Michelle Lalonde,

          Try and see if you can work out a plea bargain to avoid points because winning at trial is often difficult.

          Matthew Weiss

          Reply
  • In response to, and a followup to my May 10th post: The event happened in Newark, Wayne County. The trial date is scheduled for this Wednesday 6/8, as they said I must plead to the lesser charges (failure to yield, $250 fine, no points) or be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt… and there is beyond a doubt that I was passing the bus as it was stopped on the side of the road to allow vehicles to pass. My concern now is that if I represent myself, I will be bullied in court with no experience, but cannot afford the $350+ representation fees. What is my best chance for the first trial date? I keep attempting to take photos of the site, hopefully catching the bus doing the same act of allowing other vehicles to pass. Would that be sufficient evidence if repeatable, to drop the case? I fear I may have a lose/lose somewhere down the line.

    Reply
    • Josh R,

      If you intend to take the plead, I don’t understand your fear of being “bullied”. If you want to roll the dice at trial, then you would be well served to hire an experienced traffic lawyer. Finally, “catching the bus doing the same act”, in my opinion, may not even been admissible. The issue is what happened when you passed, not what happened on another day.

      I hope this helps. Good luck!

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I was on a 55 mph highway, I was well slowed down in the left lane when I saw the yellow lights. The lights were still yellow when I was close, so I kept driving slowly. The lights turned red as I was already beside the bus, and in a panic I kept driving. I’m not sure if I was caught on a camera or anything, but if I was, I hope there’s a way I could get the ticket reduced.

    Reply
    • Jeremy,

      Because you were not issued a school bus ticket at the scene, you likely will not get one. With that said, going forward, you should stop immediately when you see the yellow lights. When child safety is involved, it is better to drive with extra caution and defensiveness.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Dennis Hammond
    May 25, 2016 6:59 pm

    I passed a school bus no signs were pull out when I passed a got pulled over by a officer on foot that was about a half a mile away he gave me a ticket for passing the school bus I went to court and plead guilty to the charges not knowing the seriousness of this offense I’m unable to get insurance and my job is at stake what can I do? If anything I need to to something.

    Reply
  • I posted earlier on the ticket I got for passing a school bus. Since I am new to the US, I am confused on a nuance here. The two options I have are plead guilty or plead not guilty. I know that I am at fault, but I want to explain to the judge the fact that I am new to the country and still learning and it was my first mistake, how should I plead?

    Reply
  • I’ve just come to the United States from India last month, and I passed a school bus in New Rochelle that was on the last lane of the opposite lane, and I was on the extreme right lane. I realize that I was wrong. I got pulled over by a cop. He was very polite, took a look at my licence, insurance and registration and told me that he was not going to issue a ticket right there, but give me court summons. He said that there was a good chance a judge would go easy on me since I have a clean, new record and I am new to the country and still adjusting. He asked me to be polite and tell the truth and ask for leniency. Is there any advice that you have for me?

    Reply
  • These comment replies are great, but I am not sure I have found a solution to mine just yet: Passed a school bus that had pulled well over the white line to let cars pass (all vehicles oncoming to myself) – I passed in the opposite lane, while at least 4 other cars were passing on the same side as the bus. I was pulled over and ticketed for overtaking the bus. My court date is tomorrow; I am still nervous as a first offender. I have plenty of family that are bus drivers to vouch for my awareness of the safety concerns but I don’t know what to expect, with no proof that I actually took the lack of lights/sign into consideration. Any thoughts on the “eh, close enough” ticket and what to do?

    Reply
    • Josh R,

      Thanks for your nice remarks. Dress nice (business causal) and be polite. If this occurred outside NYC and Rochester, then you can likely negotiate this down to a less serious charge.

      Good luck!

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • In NY, i just passed a schoolbus and when i looked at my side mirror the stop sign had been extended out, how do you normally get a ticket if you passed a stopped school bus. Do they have camera at the bus and receive summons by mail or you get the ticket at the scene?

    Reply
    • Ricky,

      In the vast majority of cases, you would be issued the ticket at the location of the alleged offense. Since you apparently were not issued a school bus ticket at the scene, you likely will not be issued one.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I was waved on by two crossing guards on two neighboring intersections in front on a Bronx school, only to be stopped a block later by a cop telling me I passed a school bus. I looked back and 3 other vehicles were stopped for the same infraction I assume, I told the cop the crossing guards told me to go, they waved me on, he didn’t want to hear that and ticketed me. I had a perfect record over the last 10-15 years and I don’t want my insurance to go up.

    What is my best strategy (I only have 12-14 days to make a move), to get a lawyer and ask for the case to be postponed until the cop doesn’t come in then ask for a dismissal, or fight the ticket with my defense? I asked the crossing guard if she would sign a statement and of course she refused.

    I just took a defensive driver course the beginning of this month!!!! I should have waited, would that have save me these potential (5) points?

    btw, this was on ‘National School Bus stop’ day, April 21st….

    Reply
    • Reuben,

      I recommend that you plead not guilty. This is the only way to possibly save the points and fine (although it is not easy to win in the Bronx Traffic Violations Bureau).

      Good luck!

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I have been in Long Island New York for about 2 months and I drive on these streets of Long Island New York (Nassau/Suffolk country). The question that comes to my mind, on why is it that these buses use a heavy use streets instead of the residential streets were is safe to drop of children? Also these hired school buses DO NOT EVEN STOP at the appropriate BUS STOP. At least to my knowledge from another state, it would be illegal to drop off children at non Bus Stops were the street/highway is present. I see that this is ironic and also very “DANGEROUS” to drop of children on streets that are used by cars, trucks, trailers, construction machinery (this street is Merrick Rd a 4 lane street/highway). Why in the world does this state hire such reckless bus drivers to drive children around town on dangerous roads like the ones in this county? Most of the people in this county need to retake their driver license once again, I witness so many dangerous drivers in this county compared to the county were I am from. As for the cameras on the buses, I would agree with this law only if the state were to pay for non privatized school buses were the Bus drivers have been trained on picking up Children and not privatized buses were the outsourced company hires anyone who needs a job to drive children around town awaiting for an accident to happen.
    So how are you supposed to fight a ticket if the state has outsourced the job of the school for picking up children and then charge them with fees, and then put cameras on buses that are not even part of the school district and with out dated bus drivers that don’t even know were to drop off children in the correct street?
    Is this correct to do? In the eyes of the people in high places it is, and well who cares about a bus driver who is doing wrong driving ticket everyone who they like to see ticketed.

    Reply
  • I need some advice. I was driving and as I was passing a school bus, the stop sign suddenly emerged. I was mostly past it at that point. I got a ticket. Am I going to prison for this first offense?

    Reply
    • Lee,

      No, it is extraordinarily rare for a motorist to be incarcerated for such an offense. You should plead not guilty, however, and fight this ticket. This is the only way to possibly obtain a more favorable result.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I’ve been driving for almost two months now and I got a ticket for passing a school bus in Scarsdale, ny I have my junior license. Do you think I will get my license suspended or just get a fine and points to my license? Thanks

    Reply
    • Jeff,

      If convicted you will be suspended if you are convicted of a school bus violation as it carries 5 points.

      The New York Junior License rules are as follows: Your junior permit, license, or privileges will be suspended for 60 days if you are convicted of one serious traffic violation or two other violations that were committed while you held a junior permit or license. Your junior permit, license, or privileges will be revoked for 60 days if you are convicted of one serious traffic violation or two other violations within the first six months after your permit, license or privileges are restored after a suspension or revocation.

      A “serious traffic violation” is normally a violation that carries three or more driver violation points (which obviously includes a school bus ticket).

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I was driving on the road in Erie County, NY and accidentally passed a bus on the opposite lane. I was driving very slowly and by the time I noticed the school bus had flashing yellow lights I was already too close to it and it did not register in my mind. By the time I was next to the bus, the stop sign started to extend. I panicked and was going to stop but thought it was too late so slowly passed it. I feel awful and ashamed of this and am wondering if I will be issued a fine or sentence via mail?

    Reply
    • Mislie

      It is unlikely that you will be issued a school bus ticket. When this does not occur immediately at the location of the offense, it is rare for someone to get such ticket after-the-fact. Be careful going forward!! The safety of pedestrians (especially children) should be paramount to every driver.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I was driving through a village in NY when I saw the school bus in the opposite lane. I saw the car in front of me go, but the bus put his sign out after. My mind just didn’t register. I slammed on my brakes but stopped 3 feet passed the sign and stayed there for 20 sec. There were no police around so I kept going. I have a clean driving record and am a newer driver. I’m terrified that This will have serious repercussions (even jail time). What should I do ?

    Reply
    • Kirsten,

      Nothing (at this point other than be more careful). Because you were not issued a ticket on the scene, it is not likely that you’ll get one at this point.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Hello,

    I received a ticket when I passed a school bus, its lights not flashing nor its stop sign out. The officer wrote on the ticket “School Bus Disobey Sign Open”, entered the code of 1172A, and underlined the fee amount of $138 on the back of the ticket. Yet, when I attempted to pay this ticket online, the DMV’s system stated that I was ticketed for “Not Stopping for a School Bus” code 1174A and the fee was $250 with the addition of a $88 totaling $338. The officer or the system clearly made an error here. Is it possible to have this ticket dismissed on such a technicality or more simply will such an error help my cause? These are clearly two distinct violations, neither of which I was guilty of committing. Nevertheless, I am wary of fighting such a ticket due to the possibility of greater fees. I humbly seek your advice, as your law firm has fought successfully on my behalf in the past.

    Thank you in advance.

    Bill

    Reply
  • I very slowly passed a bus with yellow lights flashing in Livingston county NY. I was approaching the bus on the other side of the road, the lights were on for a long period of time and I went very slowly trying to figure out when the bus would stop. It was in a commercial area with no houses, so I couldn’t figure out where the bus was going to stop. When I was next to the bus the lights changed to red and the sign came out. I kept going because I was already beside the bus. There was no law enforcement present but the bus driver reported my license plate and I had a sheriff come to my house and issue a ticket. How likely is it that I will beat this or get a reduced sentence? Does the bus driver need to be present in court since law enforcement did not witness this? I have a clean record and am wondering if I should get a lawyer or just try to get it reduced on my own. The sheriff took a statement from me where I explained what happened. Was that a bad idea to give a statement?

    Reply
    • KMP,

      Answers in bold below.

      How likely is it that I will beat this or get a reduced sentence? A reduction is possible.

      Does the bus driver need to be present in court since law enforcement did not witness this? Yes, if the case goes to trial (unless your buried yourself with your statement).

      I have a clean record and am wondering if I should get a lawyer or just try to get it reduced on my own? If you have the time and feel comfortable, then you can try handling yourself (especially if you have an otherwise clean record). If not or if you have other convictions within the last 18 months,, then get a lawyer.

      The sheriff took a statement from me where I explained what happened. Was that a bad idea to give a statement? Yes.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I received a ticket while driving to work for a school bus disobey sign (open). I drive this route every morning, and have never passed a bus with the stop sign open. I do not believe I did so this time, but the officer who pulled me over stated that I did. Therefore, it now becomes my word against his, which is a fight I imagine I will lose. That said, the ticket is for $138, and does not describe talking any points on my license. What route of action would you recommend?

    Reply
  • Hello,
    I live in buffalo, ny and accidentally passed a bus with its lights on. The driver laid on the horn but it was too late to stop. I honestly, didn’t see since the bus was in a lane so far over. I feel awful but am wonder what will happen or what to expect next since I wasn’t pulled over.

    Reply
  • Hello,

    Today I was pulled over by an officer who stated that I passed a stopped school bus on the opposite side of the street. I honestly stated that I didn’t noticed the school bus stopped nor did I see the lights flashing. I’m very well aware of school buses once they have their mates on but since the officer was pulled over on the side of the road I was paying attention to his vehicle and my side of the road. He gave me a ticket and said that to file not guilty and state that I didn’t see the bus with its lights on which I didn’t notice. What should I do?

    Reply
  • Hi Matt,

    I have a court date where I am defending myself for allegedly passing a stopped school bus on a 4 lane highway. Just a few questions, is it a valid defense to say that there was SUV completely blocking my line of sight in direction of the school bus where the officer told me I passed it? Also does the bus driver need to show up to court? If not, can I request a dismissal of the case?

    Reply
    • Jake,

      I doubt that you will beat this case by claiming an SUV blocked your line of sight.

      The bus driver does NOT need to show up to court, just the issuing police officer.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Hello,

    I was driving by a school today with rows of busses parked outside facing the opposite way, waiting for the kids to load (it was right when school was letting out). I was lost, and passing a T in the road on the right (the busses were to my left) and did not see that one of the busses had its lights and stop sign on. I was following the car in front of me, looking to my right for oncoming traffic, and both of us were stopped by a school official who took down our license plates and said we would probably be getting a ticket in the mail. I have never been pulled over or broken a traffic law before, and am very worried. What kind of consequences should I expect? Will I need to go to court? There were no police officers at the scene, but the woman from the school took down my license plate. I don’t know what to do, or how long I need to wait to find out if I’ve been sent a ticket. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Eleanor,

      Nothing for you to do (except be more careful in the future). I doubt that you’ll be issued a ticket for this maneuver but, if you do, then you very well may want to fight it. Fingers crossed for you.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Are the school buses in Queens, NY have cameras installed?

    Reply
  • Do school buses in Nassau and Suffolk Counties have cameras on the stop sign arm similar to red light cameras?

    Reply
    • JC,

      Currently, school buses in Nassau and Suffolk Counties do not have cameras which can be used to issue school bus tickets. With that said, they could have cameras mounted. Further, you should ALWAYS pass a school buss carefully given the likelihood that young children could be nearby.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Matt thanks for getting back to me there was no day camp on Friday but today there was I dropped my grandson off today I was in my wife’s car there was a sheriff deputy there talking to staff member in charge so I’m making a leap and figure it’s about Thursdays incident put a call into my lawyer who is in court all day so I’m thinking a deputy will show up either with a summons or for a statement

    Reply
  • Yesterday while dropping my grandson off to summer day camp at a rural Scholls in s a quit ny I blew, by 2 school buses parked in front of the school I didn’t see lights on the rear bus though the lead bus did have his sign sticking out . It was early in the am and I was kinda of oblivious running late to get my grandson going on a field trip . The 1st driver came up to my car I apologized once I had realized what happened he was cool about it the 2nd driver without the light pulled up screaming she took my license down I tried apologize to her she wasn’t interested I know you answered this a dozen times already but will or would the local police issue a ticket. As an aside I’m a retired nys leo.

    Reply
    • Sal,

      My answer does not change. I believe it is highly unlikely that you will be issued a ticket for illegally passing a school bus in light of the fact that there was no police officer present at the scene to observe the alleged offense.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Hi there,

    I was pulled over today in the Town of Hamburg along Rte 5 for apparently running a school bus stop near the intersection of NY 5 and 6th St. In that area, NY 5 is 3 lanes eastbound, 3 lanes westbound, with a center turn lane and shoulders on each side (there is no raised median there dividing the highway). I had just merged onto NY 5 and drove under an overpass. I was in the far right eastbound lane, and the bus was stopped in the far right westbound lane. I was paying attention to traffic I merged into as well as the traffic light that is at that intersection to make sure I did not miss a red light or anything.

    When the cop pulled myself and one other car over, I was not aware that I missed the bus stop since I was more concerned about paying attention to the traffic on my side of the road. My question is, in an instance like this, since NY 5 is a total of 7 lanes here, was it still illegal that I did not stop? And if so, when I am in court, what can I say to the judge to at least minimize the financial impact on me (or hopefully get out of the ticket)?. Thanks!

    Reply
    • William,

      I would dress nice and be polite. In the Town of Hamburg, you likely can negotiate this down to a less serious charge as part of a plea deal.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Yesterday, I was driving down Main Street in my town. I pulled up to a red light and as I did, an ambulance passed me in the opposite lane. As the ambulance passed me, the light turned green and I began to pull forward. The cars on the left hand side were stationary, I assumed because they were still just beginning to pull away from the curb, since the ambulance had just passed them.

    Then, just as I finished crossing the intersection, I heard a honk and looked to my left and saw a school bus. Not realizing what was going on, I continued to drive. I then looked in my mirror and saw that the bus had its sign out and red lights on. I just kept going, not sure what to do. I was not pulled over for the incident, but I have no way of knowing if any of the cars behind me or the bus driver got my plates and phoned the police.

    Since the ambulance had literally just passed that whole line of traffic, I genuinely didn’t think that the bus would be unloading. Either the ambulance passed the bus illegally, or the bus immediately deployed its sign after the ambulance passed. Either way, it was a confusing situation and I feel absolutely horrible. I haven’t heard anything yet, but I’m completely freaking out.

    How long would it typically take for me to hear back on this, if the police were to take action? If they were to take action, do I have a decent case to decrease the penalty for this incident?

    Reply
    • CR,

      I doubt that you will be ticketed for this offense given that a police officer did not pull you over at the scene. With that said, please be more careful in the future whenever you see a stopped school bus.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Hello- I accidentally passed a school bus today while it was stopped in the outerboroughs of new york. There was a lot of traffic and I didn’t realize until the school bus honked at me and then I tried to wave in apology. I’m afraid he took my plates down and I’ll receive a ticket. How long should I expect to wait before hearing if I received a violation/fine/jail time? I feel terrible it was a complete accident and I’m so terrified I’m going to have to go to jail.

    Reply
    • Carrie,

      Good news! You likely will NOT receive a school bus ticket. Generally, a police officer must observe a traffic offense in order to issue a summons. Be careful in the future.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Our nanny was pulled over today for “failed to stop at school bus”. she was turning left onto a two way street in front of the school. there was a bus parked in front of the school. she says she looked and there were no lights flashing, red or amber and no sign out. she even looked for the bus driver and saw him standing at the front of the bus in the location of where the sign is, hence her recollection that there was no sign out. she turned left and parked in front of the bus at which time a police car pulled up and issued a ticket for failing to stop. Additionally, he issued her a ticket for unlicensed driver, even though she showed him her Spanish drivers license and international drivers license. He stated she can’t drive in NY with them. My understanding is that she only needs a foreign license to drive in NY if she is a non resident. She is here on an au pair visa.
    Is it worth fighting the bus ticket as it is her word against the officers regarding the lack of lights/sign? If found guilty, will there be any repercussions to our insurance because she was driving our vehicle? if she is found guilty, how will the court apply points or penalties to a foreign driver?
    Thanks for any advice.

    Reply
  • I’m responding to Matt – May 16, 2013 2:55 pm about the late buses in Williamsburg Brooklyn that I’m a School Bus driver over here and we are transporting between the hours of 7pm-9:45pm the high school and college students ages 14-20 from their after school programs to home

    Reply
  • the police pulled over me because im passing the school bus with red light flushing which i didn’t notice its morning bumper to bumper traffic and i am following public MTA bus but the bus did not do stop that why im wondering why the police ticketed me.. should i “plea not guilty”? i have clean driving record this is my first ticket i receive in 7 years driving here in NYC..

    Reply
    • Andy,

      In New York City, it is fought to beat any traffic ticket. However, because this ticket carries a lot of points (five), you may want to fight your school bus ticket as this is the only way to possibly obtain a more favorable outcome. If you want help, then you may want to consider hiring an experienced New York traffic ticket lawyer.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • My brother doesnt have a license and he doesnt suppose to be in the USA and he pass a bus stop what is the poloce going to do to him ?, I m worry Can U help me

    Reply
    • Maria,

      Was a ticket issued to your brother? If not, then I don’t think he has to worry about it. If so, then he should retain a NY Traffic Lawyer to fight his school bus ticket.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Hi,
    Today morning a school bus was there in the right side, boarding children…. I went from the opposite direction , took right and crossed the bus. It is a single lane road. Is that wrong?
    Will I receive any ticket through mail?

    Reply
    • Hema,

      From your description, it sounds like you passed the bus in the opposite direction while it was boarding children. If so, that is a violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1174. With that said, if you weren’t stopped and ticketed on the spot, then it is highly unlikely that you will get a school bus ticket in the mail. Be careful going forward as this is a 5-point ticket that involves the safety of children.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Last week I arrived late to my afterschool prgram. When I pulled into the parking lot a bus was stopped and letting the children off into the building. I have ran this program for the past 3 years and knew exactly where the children were going (escorted by adults). Unknowingly, I drove past the school bus’s left side (the children were exiting on the right and going directly into the building) and pulled into a parking spot. After letting the children off the bus, the bus driver informed me that he took my information (plate number etc) and that I would be getting a letter soon for violating the law. I do not dispute that I drove past the bus, but I am concerned if I will face the penalties even though I was not ticketed by a police officer. Do you know if I will simply be warned or if I will be ticketed and fined?

    Reply
    • Ashley,

      In my experience, it is very unlikely that you’ll receive a school bus ticket after-the-fact. In the vast majority of the cases, a police officer will only issue such a ticket if he or she actually sees the alleged offense.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Is there any time or passenger restrictions on this law? I ask because I regularly see “school” buses operating at 8pm at night ferrying around adults in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. These are certainly not students and at 8pm are certainly not traveling to/from school, yet the bus driver will deploy the red stop sign and put on it’s hazards. To me if a school bus is operating outside normal school commuting hours (lets say 7:30am-5pm) does it really still count as a “school bus”?

    Reply
    • Matt,

      Great question! This law applies all the time and isn’t even limited to children. Below is the full text of VTL 1174.

      Matthew Weiss

      § 1174. Overtaking and passing school bus. (a) The driver of a vehicle
      upon a public highway, street or private road upon meeting or overtaking
      from either direction any school bus marked and equipped as provided in
      subdivision twenty of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter
      which has stopped on the public highway, street or private road for the
      purpose of receiving or discharging any passengers, or which has stopped
      because a school bus in front of it has stopped to receive or discharge
      any passengers, shall stop the vehicle before reaching such school bus
      when there is in operation on said school bus a red visual signal as
      specified in subdivision twenty of section three hundred seventy-five of
      this chapter and said driver shall not proceed until such school bus
      resumes motion, or until signaled by the driver or a police officer to
      proceed. For the purposes of this section, and in addition to the
      provisions of section one hundred thirty-four of this chapter, the term
      “public highway” shall mean any area used for the parking of motor
      vehicles or used as a driveway located on the grounds of a school or of
      a board of cooperative educational services facility or any area used as
      a means of access to and egress from such school or facility.
      (b) The driver of such school bus, when receiving or discharging
      passengers who must cross a public highway, street or private road,
      shall instruct such passengers to cross in front of the bus and the
      driver thereof shall keep such school bus halted with red signal lights
      flashing until such passengers have reached the opposite side of such
      highway, street or private road. Whether such passengers are crossing
      such highway street or private road or discharging to the same side of
      such highway, street or private road, the driver of such bus shall keep
      such school bus halted with red signal lights flashing until such
      passengers are at least fifteen feet from the bus and either off the
      highway, street or private road or on a sidewalk.
      (c) Every person convicted of a violation of subdivision (a) of this
      section shall: for a first conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of
      not less than two hundred fifty dollars nor more than four hundred
      dollars or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days or by both such
      fine and imprisonment; for a conviction of a second violation, both of
      which were committed within a period of three years, such person shall
      be punished by a fine of not less than six hundred dollars nor more than
      seven hundred fifty dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one
      hundred eighty days or by both such fine and imprisonment; upon a
      conviction of a third or subsequent violation, all of which were
      committed within a period of three years, such person shall be punished
      by a fine of not less than seven hundred fifty dollars nor more than one
      thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one hundred eighty
      days or by both such fine and imprisonment.
      (d) For the purposes of this section, the term “passengers” shall mean
      those persons designated in paragraph (d) of subdivision twenty of
      section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter.

      Reply
  • I am a Pennsylvania driver, and was driving a truck on Webster Ave in the Bronx. There were several buses parked on the opposing side of the street, flashing yellow lights. I looked to my right mirror to move to the right lane, and a NYPD officer came along and stopped me and the taxi in front of me. I never saw any flashing red lights. I could see the yellows flashing for blocks as I approached. I’ve never gotten a ticket in NYC, only received three in my life. I live near Philadelphia. Is this worth trying to fight it?

    Reply
    • Dave Hash,

      A school bus ticket carries 5 points and roughly a $250 fine. If you have a CDL (or have other convictions on your record), then it is likely worth fighting. Ultimately, you’ll need to make this decision.

      The good news is that, if you are convicted, NY points will not transfer onto your PA license.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Hello there, im a new driver and im desperate to hear someone’s opinion on this.
    I was driving in a 4 lane highway and stopped at a stop light, i was close to the middle lane. When the light turned green the cars in all 4 lanes started moving, and then i saw a stopped school bus the 2 cars in front of me and behind me were moving. The 2 in front of me passed it and the one behind me also passed it. The bus was 2 lanes away to the left. When i passed it i questioned why the 2 in front of me passed it, i thought the bus didn’t have its stop signs on but when i looked at my rear view i saw that it did have them on. I didnt get stopped by the police or was honked at by other drivers and the bus driver so i kept on going to my destination. This all happened just today so i didnt get a letter in the mail either. What should i do? i also just got my senior licence just a couple of days ago, will it get suspended?

    Reply
    • AV,

      Because you were not stopped and issued a school bus ticket at the scene, it is very unlikely that you will get one. There is nothing to do (at this time). In the unlikely event that you do get a ticket issued to you, you should plead not guilty and fight it. This is the only way to possibly save points and money.

      Finally, if you are convicted of this charge, in my opinion, you will not be suspended for just this one conviction (assuming you have an otherwise clean license).

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I passed a school bus to pull into my driveway two houses down and the school bus driver pulled over and said just so you know I’m turning you in for failure to stop. A couple weeks later a police officer came to my door and had written my fiancé a ticket for passing because I was in his vehicle and my name is not on it in any way. He payed the ticket and replyed not guilty but then a police officer called and asked for my information and now they are sending me a subpoena to appear in court and the bus driver is to appear as well! Now I’m not sure how this whole thing goes considering there are no witnesses and the ticket was written to him and not to me can they give me a ticket? And I am in the state of North Dakota where they take 6 points off of your license!

    Reply
  • Mr. Weiss,
    Thank you so very much for your advice and time in answering my question.
    I truly appreciate it.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  • I was driving on Route 9 North, Wappingers Falls, NY approx. 7:00 a.m. There is a divided concrete median between North lanes and South lanes with I belIEve 3 lanes of traffic on each side. I was stopped and issued a ticket and given a deposition as well. I see the 1174(a) typed on the depostion. The officer said I didn’t stop for red flashing light/school bus. When I thought about it I mentioned to him I did see one, which was on the (South) side of the divided concrete median and I was driving (North). I did not think I did anything wrong as it was on the other side of the divided concrete median. I did not observe any other motorists stopping on the North bound lane. I have pleaded “Not Guilty” and mailed the ticket to the court and am awaiting a court date. I am so upset over this and doing research I came across your website which is so very informative. I always observe driving rules and always stop for school buses on roads and didn’t think I did anything wrong because of the concrete divided median. I am so anxious over this and upset. I don’t know if explaining this to a judge would lessen this steep fine and points on insurance/license. I am unemployed and the fine is so expensive and just so unfortunate to have this affect your insurance/license for so many years. I had a accident a little over 3 years ago and this was just taken off my insurance a few months ago. I would appreciate any advice you can extend to me regarding this matter. I am so upset over this. Thank you for your time.

    Reply
    • AB,

      Below is the statute. As you will read, unfortunately there is no exception for roadways divided by concrete medians. I do recommend that, on your court date, you ask for a conference and try and plea bargain this down to a less serious charge.

      Good luck.

      Matthew Weiss

      § 1174. Overtaking and passing school bus. (a) The driver of a vehicle
      upon a public highway, street or private road upon meeting or overtaking
      from either direction any school bus marked and equipped as provided in
      subdivision twenty of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter
      which has stopped on the public highway, street or private road for the
      purpose of receiving or discharging any passengers, or which has stopped
      because a school bus in front of it has stopped to receive or discharge
      any passengers, shall stop the vehicle before reaching such school bus
      when there is in operation on said school bus a red visual signal as
      specified in subdivision twenty of section three hundred seventy-five of
      this chapter and said driver shall not proceed until such school bus
      resumes motion, or until signaled by the driver or a police officer to
      proceed. For the purposes of this section, and in addition to the
      provisions of section one hundred thirty-four of this chapter, the term
      “public highway” shall mean any area used for the parking of motor
      vehicles or used as a driveway located on the grounds of a school or of
      a board of cooperative educational services facility or any area used as
      a means of access to and egress from such school or facility.
      (b) The driver of such school bus, when receiving or discharging
      passengers who must cross a public highway, street or private road,
      shall instruct such passengers to cross in front of the bus and the
      driver thereof shall keep such school bus halted with red signal lights
      flashing until such passengers have reached the opposite side of such
      highway, street or private road. Whether such passengers are crossing
      such highway street or private road or discharging to the same side of
      such highway, street or private road, the driver of such bus shall keep
      such school bus halted with red signal lights flashing until such
      passengers are at least fifteen feet from the bus and either off the
      highway, street or private road or on a sidewalk.
      (c) Every person convicted of a violation of subdivision (a) of this
      section shall: for a first conviction thereof, be punished by a fine of
      not less than two hundred fifty dollars nor more than four hundred
      dollars or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days or by both such
      fine and imprisonment; for a conviction of a second violation, both of
      which were committed within a period of three years, such person shall
      be punished by a fine of not less than six hundred dollars nor more than
      seven hundred fifty dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one
      hundred eighty days or by both such fine and imprisonment; upon a
      conviction of a third or subsequent violation, all of which were
      committed within a period of three years, such person shall be punished
      by a fine of not less than seven hundred fifty dollars nor more than one
      thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one hundred eighty
      days or by both such fine and imprisonment.
      (d) For the purposes of this section, the term “passengers” shall mean
      those persons designated in paragraph (d) of subdivision twenty of
      section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter.

      Reply
  • just got a ticket im very pissed due to the fact that i could not see the school buson the right hand side due to an suv and truck on my right blocking my view. im in the left lane where cars can only make left turns cars start to move then when i proceed i hear sirens then the cop pulls me over and i asked him wats wrong he stated u just pass a school bus can i have this reduce fine or points wise. i know it wont be dissmissed and other options

    Reply
    • Tyronemill,

      I’m sorry for your misfortune. I recommend that you plead not guilty. If you do, you likely can plea bargain this down to a lesser charge (assuming this ticket isn’t returnable at a Traffic Violations Bureau court).

      Good luck!

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I receive a ticket for this yesterday and have a in-court appearance scheduled for April. I have no problem paying the fine or even suffering a few points, I’m just really nervous about the jail time possibility. Is this something I should be worried about? The bus was pulled over and the driver opened his stop-sign just as I passed, and I was one of three pulled over.

    Reply
  • Hi,

    I was on a two-lane road in Illinois today and I noticed a school bus stopped on the other side of the road. I think the bus had the red flashers on and I inadvertently drove past the school bus. The driver honked at me but I did not receive a ticket on the spot. What are the chances of the ticket being sent via mail?

    Thanks,
    Jay

    Reply
  • Thanks for writing back. I actually called your office and someone got back to me right away. They had the case adjourned until December. I am keeping my fingers crossed that things will workout. I look forward to working with an associate from your office to get this rectified. Thanks again.

    Reply
  • I have a trial date for tomorrow Friday, February 8th, 2013 at 1:00 pm in Brooklyn for “Failure to stop for a marked school bus.” I turned onto Coney Island Avenue, which is a busy industrial street with 2 lanes going in both directions and a turning lane on each side each side. After I made my turn, I then merged into the inner lane, so I could make the next right to go home. While I was stopped in traffic, the police officer two cars ahead of me gets out of his car and walks towards the car infront of me, and directs him to pull over. He was still moving his arms around, so I pulled over as a precaution. Everything that was going on was strange, because he left the car door open and was walking down the middle of a jam packed avenue. He then came to my window and asked me for my license and registration, when asked him why he pulled me over, he said “you don’t stop for the bus,” but there was no bus in sight. I asked him where the bus was, and I even looked out my window and said there was no bus anywhere (not the block I was on, scross from me, or down the road as far as my eyes could see. He walked away with my registration and license, and then gave me the ticket and walked away. No explanation, no proof…just a ticket.

    When he pulled me over traffic was at a standstill. There was no bus anywhere. He could not point to one. On top of that he did not write the time on my ticket, nor the gentleman who was driving in front of me.

    Please help if you can. This officer is a summons auto at the 70th precint and I feel as if he is abusing his authority and issuing non-justified tickets. I teachin this same area and I am super cautious while driving home from work, not just because it is a busy street, but also because these are students from my school that are walking these streets. I know how important it is to stop for school buses, they transport the special needs students I teach. This entire situation is so frustrating.

    Any advice would be appreciated. I plead not guilty and am interested in being represented tomorrow.

    Reply
    • StephanieMM,

      When the officer finishes his direct case, you should move to dismiss based the failure to write the time on the ticket. This is a prima facie element and should be filled out. Further, it doesn’t sound like you violated 1174 so, if you cannot get the case dismissed on the technically, ask questions and make arguments on this point.

      Good luck tomorrow.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply

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