State troopers are beefing up patrols near big yellow buses following a spree of illegal passing of Teton County School District No. 1 school buses since the beginning of this school year.
“Most violations are happening south of High School Road,” Wyoming Highway Patrol Lt. Matt Brackin said.
Roughly 100 people have been caught passing stopped buses. Drivers who don’t stop for flashing red lights on a school bus can be fined $435.
A new subsection to the state statute allows officers to ticket the registered owner of the vehicle that is caught on camera violating the law. School buses are equipped with cameras to help identify violators, Brackin said. That can result in a $195 fine regardless of who’s driving the car.
“So even if there is not a law enforcement presence there to witness the act, drivers can still be penalized for this unsafe behavior,” Brackin said.
If you’re driving on a two-lane road, no matter which direction you’re traveling, when the school bus activates its red flashing lights drivers are required to stop.
The same rules apply on a four-lane highway and on a five-lane highway with a center turning lane, like South Highway 89.
In a press release, Wyoming Department of Transportation Public Relations Specialist Stephanie Harsha spelled out the rules, saying there’s only one circumstance when drivers don’t need to stop: “If you’re traveling on a divided highway or frontage road, you’re traveling in the opposite direction and there’s an actual physical barrier separating your lanes from the lanes the school bus is in.
“This barrier can be a concrete divider or a grassy median. But even though you’re not required by law to stop in this situation, you should still use extreme caution as you drive by. Slow down and expect to see children.”
Watch a Wyoming Highway Patrol bus safety video online here.