Oregon School Bus Laws

Most people understand that they have certain requirements when it comes to operating their vehicles around school buses. This is particularly true when a school bus comes to a stop. However, there is some confusion about exactly what drivers are supposed to do depending on their location or proximity to the bus. Here, we want to discuss the Oregon school bus laws so that you know exactly what you are supposed to do when a bus comes to a stop when you are around.

The Rules for School Buses Stopping in Oregon

When school buses are out on the roadway, there are also plenty of other drivers trying to get to and from their destinations at the same time. This can lead to individuals who have very little patience making a choice to pass a school bus, usually thinking that they will not be doing anybody harm. However, failing to properly stop for a school bus can lead to significant injuries to children.

In the state of Oregon, drivers must stop on a street or highway 20 feet or more from any school bus that has come to a stop and has flashing red warning lights (ORS 816.260). This requirement for drivers to stop applies to drivers approaching a bus from the rear as well as those approaching from opposite lanes.

Every lane of traffic is required to stop for a school bus unless the highway is divided with a center median. In these cases, those in the opposite lanes do not need to stop.

No vehicle will be allowed to proceed until the bus resumes motion and the red warning lights have been turned off. It is important to point out that a school bus stop arm is an extra way for drivers to see that a bus has stopped, but the lack of an extended stop arm does not mean the drivers can keep going. As long as the red flashing lights are activated, drivers must stop and wait for the bus to resume motion.

Penalties for Violating These Rules

Drivers who fail to follow the rules mentioned above could face significant penalties.

  • A citation for failing to stop for a school bus can result in a fine of $312 as well as four demerit points against a person’s driver’s license.
  • If a person conducts an illegal right turn in front of a stopped school bus, the fine is also equal to $312 but with three demerit points against a driver’s license.
  • If a school bus driver personally reports a vehicle for illegal passing, the fine will be $312 but with no demerit points against a driver’s license.

A violation of school bus laws is a serious offense in the state of Oregon. The number one priority in these situations is the safety of the children getting on and off these buses. It is very difficult to get any leniency from a judge after receiving a citation for failing to stop for a school bus. If you see a school bus stopped with its red lights flashing, and if you are unsure about whether or not you need to stop, you should err on the side of caution and stop anyway. Even if other people are honking at you or passing you, you do what you think is right. Safety over expediency.