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A refresher to drive carefully alongside school buses in Virginia

Summer is winding down for many children in Virginia, and this means that drivers will soon be sharing the road with school buses transporting kids to and from school. In fact, almost one million pupils ride school buses daily in Virginia.

School buses are generally safe for children. They are highly regulated, are easy to see and are equipped with flashing red lights and stop-sign arms. Still, none of these safeguards can protect children if a motorist drives negligently and causes a car accident involving a school bus.

Under Virginia law, when a school bus has its red flashing lights on and its stop sign out, motorists must stop when approaching from any direction. The motorist must stay stopped until the road is clear and the bus begins to move again. And, motorists must stop for school buses whenever pupils are loading onto the bus or coming off the bus.

Drivers also need to be alert to children who are walking or biking to school. Motorists should check behind them when backing out of a driveway or garage to ensure there aren't any children in their path. Motorists must also drive the posted speed limit in school zones and need to take extra care if there are no sidewalks for the child to use.

Unfortunately, there will always be drivers who drive recklessly and do not follow the rules of the road regarding school buses. If this negligence causes a collision, and a child is injured, the negligent motorist may be held responsible for the crash. Car accidents involving school buses may be rare, but they do happen. It is important for parents to know what their rights are if their child is injured in a school bus accident.

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