The Georgia legislature on Friday, Feb. 15, reversed a controversial change in state law approved last year that allowed motorists more leeway to pass stopped school buses.
“I can rest a little easier tonight, and I believe that’s true for our school transportation directors and parents, as well,” state schools Superintendent Richard Woods said in a statement.
For years, the law only allowed motorists traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus stopped along a four-lane roadway to pass when a median (grass, concrete, etc.) was in place.
But a law passed in 2018 (as part of broader legislation that included capping fines for illegally passing a school bus at $250 per instance and gave local governments the authority to establish cameras in school zones to catch speeders) changed this.
It said that if a four-lane road has a center turn lane dividing each direction of travel, then motorists can legally pass a stopped school bus.
The law was signed and took effect July 1.
Opponents of the change, including administrators and transportation directors with both Gainesville City Schools and Hall County Schools, feared the new exemption would place students in danger, and create more accidents and unsafe bus stops.
“Today, Senate Bill 25 was signed,” Woods said. “It reverses the change and takes effect immediately – it is once again clear that in Georgia it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus unless on a highway divided by a grass median, unpaved area, or physical barrier.”