GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Expect to see more students and school buses making an appearance on our roadways over the next few weeks as school begins in the Upstate.
Highway Patrol is asking for all drivers to drive extra carefully.
“Watch out for children, especially smaller children that are getting on the school buses and off school buses,” Master Trooper for South Carolina Highway Patrol, Mitchell Ridgeway said.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, a child is safer riding a school bus to school than a car.
In fact, the administration reports the greatest risk to your child is not riding the bus, but when they are getting on and off it.
“Be aware of when you need to stop for a stopped school bus,” Ridgeway explained. “If it’s a two-lane road, you always you’re always gonna have to stop for a stop school bus, whether you’re behind a school bus, or if you’re traveling the opposing lanes, you need to stop for that school bus.”
He went on to add when it comes to stopping for school buses, it all depends on the number of lanes.
“If it’s four lanes or more, if you’re traveling with the school bus or in the same lane to the school bus, you have to stop behind that school bus and you cannot pass,” Ridgeway said. “Now if it’s the opposing lanes on a four-lane roadway, you don’t have to stop.”
If you don’t obey this law, it’ll cost you a hefty fine.
“If you run a stopped school bus, that’s a $500-dollar fine. The second offense is a $2,000 fine,” he told 7NEWS.
When you see a school bus preparing to stop in front of you, keep back at least 100 feet.
Ridgeway said to also get ready to see more law enforcement out on patrol, enforcing things like speed.
“73% of all collisions are speed related,” Ridgeway said. “So that tells you if you just slow down to the speed limit, you’re going to reduce your risk of being involved in some type of motor vehicle collision.”
He adds drivers should give themselves extra time to get to where they need to go and a message to all drivers to put the phone down.
“A lot of them are driving distracted on their cell phones, you know, texting on social media, and just what have you, they’re just younger, inexperienced, and sometimes distracted drivers, which can cause some major problems on our roadways,” said Ridgeway.
Ridgeway told 7NEWS drivers caught speeding through posted school zones cannot only face a fine but can also add points to your license.
Fines and points vary per offense.
Speeding 10 miles per hour or less more than the posted school zone speed limit is a $76.50 dollar fine and two points added to your license.
Speeding 11-15 miles per hour more than the posted school zone speed limit is a $128.75 dollar fine and four points added to your license.
Speeding 15-25 miles per hour more than the posted school zone speed limit is a $180.50 dollar fine and four points added to your license.
Speeding 25 miles per hour more than the posted school zone speed limit is a $355 dollar fine and six points added to your license.
Any speed greater than 25 miles per hour more than the posted speed limit can be considered reckless driving and is at the discretion of the trooper in charge. That is a $440 dollar fine and could add six points to your license.