School is back in session for all Yates County schools, and Sheriff Ron Spike is reminding motorists that school buses have also returned to area roadways and so have reduced speed limits normally associated with school speed zones.
School speed limits are in effect on school days. Some of our school speed zones are controlled by flashing beacons that mandate the school speed limit “WHEN FLASHING” rather than specific times. Whenever the beacons are flashing, the school speed limit is in effect, even in evenings for school events.
Sheriff Spike added if a school speed zone does not have flashing beacons, there will be a sign telling drivers the hours that the speed limit is in effect. Normally this is 15 mph. These are often between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. but might have other hours posted, such as 7-9 a.m. and 2-4 p.m., for example. Speeding fines are doubled if you are convicted of violating a school speed limit.
Drivers need to be aware of stopped school buses and obey the “NO PASSING A STOPPED SCHOOL BUS WHEN LIGHTS ARE FLASHING” law. Spike said as incredible as it might seem, it is estimated that 50,000 motorists illegally pass a stopped school bus in New York State every school day.
If you are convicted of passing a stopped school bus, NYS DMV assigns five violation points to your driving record. Now that schools are open and school buses are traveling each morning and afternoon, Sheriff Spike wants motorists to be extra careful near schools, and be aware of the potential for stopped school buses anywhere. New York law states that drivers in either direction must stop at least 20 feet from a stopped school bus.
For parents who drive students to school, be aware that it is also illegal to pass a stopped school bus with red lights flashing on school property, not just on streets and roads.