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  1. #1
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    Oct 2015
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    Default Passing a School Bus on a Four Lane Highway

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Oregon.

    I had just come off a graveyard going South on Pacific Blvd in Albany, OR going 40 mph. I saw a school bus on the right who had just finished unloading children and had turned off their lights. At this point I was close to 100 feet behind the bus as it started to move forward again. It begins to slow down after driving 10 feet in which I am 20 feet behind the vehicle still going 40 mph when the amber lights come on. There is no physical way for me to stop or slow down for this bus so I take my foot off the gas and began slowing down. I am 6 feet behind the bus going 30 mph when the red lights come on and I get pulled over and given a 460 dollar ticket for failing to stop for a school bus. Not really sure what I could have done in this instance that would have allowed me to stop in time for the bus.

    I read all the statutes so far and it doesn't seem like there is any leeway on this ticket but I just want to get a little bit more information on this ticket before I go to my court date in a couple of days.

    I've read every other School bus passing post on this website and I recognize the dangers and I know full and well why the law is in place. I just need some legal opinions on the circumstances.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Passing a School Bus on a 4 Lane Highway

    Quote Quoting Jim Hawk
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    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Oregon.

    I had just come off a graveyard going South on Pacific Blvd in Albany, OR going 40 mph. I saw a school bus on the right who had just finished unloading children and had turned off their lights. At this point I was close to 100 feet behind the bus as it started to move forward again. It begins to slow down after driving 10 feet in which I am 20 feet behind the vehicle still going 40 mph when the amber lights come on. There is no physical way for me to stop or slow down for this bus so I take my foot off the gas and began slowing down. I am 6 feet behind the bus going 30 mph when the red lights come on and I get pulled over and given a 460 dollar ticket for failing to stop for a school bus. Not really sure what I could have done in this instance that would have allowed me to stop in time for the bus.

    I read all the statutes so far and it doesn't seem like there is any leeway on this ticket but I just want to get a little bit more information on this ticket before I go to my court date in a couple of days.

    I've read every other School bus passing post on this website and I recognize the dangers and I know full and well why the law is in place. I just need some legal opinions on the circumstances.

    Thanks
    I would have slowed down the minute I saw the bus. I would have tried to maintain the 100 feet until I was sure that the bus was fully moving again. I would have made sure that I kept behind the bus until it was moving at full speed.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Passing a School Bus on a Four Lane Highway

    Quote Quoting OAR 581-053-0230
    (10) Use of Bus Safety Lights:

    (a) When pupils must cross the road way to board, or after leaving the bus, the driver shall actuate the amber flashing warning lights 100 to 300 feet before the stop. The driver shall stop the bus in the right hand traffic lane. The red lights shall remain flashing until all pupils have safely crossed the roadway;

    (b) When pupils need not cross the roadway to board, or after leaving the bus, the driver shall:

    (A) When practicable, stop completely off the main traveled portion of the roadway. The driver shall not actuate the bus safety lights;

    (B) Where it is not practicable to stop completely off the main traveled portion of the roadway the driver shall actuate the amber flashing warning lights 100 to 300 feet before the stop. The driver shall stop the bus in the right hand traffic lane. The red lights shall remain flashing until pupils have safely boarded or left the bus.
    Quote Quoting Jim Hawk
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    It begins to slow down after driving 10 feet in which I am 20 feet behind the vehicle still going 40 mph when the amber lights come on.
    Quote Quoting Jim Hawk
    I am 6 feet behind the bus going 30 mph when the red lights come on....
    At 40 MPH you are traveling at almost 60 feet per second. At 30 MPH you are traveling at 44 feet per second. The school bus accelerated from a stop for only ten seconds, before activating its amber lights and slowing. Even if we assume relatively significant acceleration by the bus over the ten seconds before it started to again slow, and relatively rapid braking over @100 feet, it realistically would have been at least six seconds between the time the amber lights came on and the time the bus was stopped. Even at 30 MPH, over six seconds you would have proceeded down the road more than 260 feet, and should have been close to 140 feet past the bus when it stopped and activated the red lights.

    If you are suggesting that the bus driver did not activate the amber lights at least 100 feet in front of the stop, you should seek any video that is available from the patrol vehicle or school bus that would support your argument. If you are not making that argument, I don't see a way to make your numbers work.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2015
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    Default Re: Passing a School Bus on a Four Lane Highway

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    At 40 MPH you are traveling at almost 60 feet per second. At 30 MPH you are traveling at 44 feet per second. The school bus accelerated from a stop for only ten seconds, before activating its amber lights and slowing. Even if we assume relatively significant acceleration by the bus over the ten seconds before it started to again slow, and relatively rapid braking over @100 feet, it realistically would have been at least six seconds between the time the amber lights came on and the time the bus was stopped. Even at 30 MPH, over six seconds you would have proceeded down the road more than 260 feet, and should have been close to 140 feet past the bus when it stopped and activated the red lights.

    If you are suggesting that the bus driver did not activate the amber lights at least 100 feet in front of the stop, you should seek any video that is available from the patrol vehicle or school bus that would support your argument. If you are not making that argument, I don't see a way to make your numbers work.
    That is exactly what I'm saying because there wasn't 100 feet between the two stops. It was also the first time I had seen a bus, stop on this road.

    The bus drove for 10 (Feet) not seconds. The bus didn't even accelerate for 2 seconds before applying the amber lights. Make more sense?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Passing a School Bus on a Four Lane Highway

    Your prior version appeared to be that the bus started to accelerate from its first stop, drove ten feet, then activated its amber lights and started to slow for the second stop. You now appear to be stating that the two stops were no more than ten feet apart.

    A standard school bus is about forty feet long. You are stating that you were twenty feet behind the bus when the amber lights came on. You are stating that the two stops were about ten feet apart. If we add those numbers, we're talking about at most seventy feet. At 40 MPH, you would have been past the school bus in about 1.2 seconds (at 30 MPH, you would have been past the bus in about 1.6 seconds). You are stating that you instead decelerated from 40 MPH to 30 MPH, and found yourself at that point some six feet behind the school bus -- assuming a half-second reaction time, you would have proceeded almost thirty feet before you started to decelerate or brake, which is to say that if you had the reaction time of a vigilant driver you would have been next to the school bus before you would have even started to slow your car.

    That is to say, your numbers don't work for me. That's not to say that you might not have an argument based upon there having been an insufficient warning for you to stop behind the bus, but I don't see how the numbers and distances can be what you're describing.

    I again suggest that you see if there is video from the patrol vehicle, the school bus, or both.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Passing a School Bus on a Four Lane Highway

    What section are you charged with? 811.155 states:

    (1) A driver commits the offense of failure to stop for bus safety lights if the driver meets or overtakes from either direction any vehicle that is stopped on a roadway and that is operating red bus safety lights described under ORS 816.260 (Bus safety lights) and the driver does not:

    Was the bus still moving when you reached it, or had it already stopped? If it had stopped, then you need to somehow show that yellow lights were on for less than 100ft before the bus stopped. You need the officer's notes, and you can also ask him at trial how long the amber lights were on before the bus stopped.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Passing a School Bus on a Four Lane Highway

    Under Oregon's regulations, the red lights come on automatically when the driver of the bus opens the entry door ("When amber safety lights are activated, they shall automatically deactivate and the red safety lights shall automatically activate when the entrance door is opened"). School districts have automated the process to reduce the possibility of a school bus driver's mistakenly failing to turn on the red lights before children get out of the bus.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Passing a School Bus on a Four Lane Highway

    Quote Quoting avenger
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    What section are you charged with? 811.155 states:

    (1) A driver commits the offense of failure to stop for bus safety lights if the driver meets or overtakes from either direction any vehicle that is stopped on a roadway and that is operating red bus safety lights described under ORS 816.260 (Bus safety lights) and the driver does not:

    Was the bus still moving when you reached it, or had it already stopped? If it had stopped, then you need to somehow show that yellow lights were on for less than 100ft before the bus stopped. You need the officer's notes, and you can also ask him at trial how long the amber lights were on before the bus stopped.

    It stopped moving just before i was at the buses rear end. So as I started to pass the bus the red lights turned on. I am not sure if it's going to be a trial or just a municipal court appearance but I'll definitely ask. Thanks for the help Avenger.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Passing a School Bus on a Four Lane Highway

    Quote Quoting Jim Hawk
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    It stopped moving just before i was at the buses rear end. So as I started to pass the bus the red lights turned on. I am not sure if it's going to be a trial or just a municipal court appearance but I'll definitely ask. Thanks for the help Avenger.
    And this is why there is a red stop sign with red flashing lights that swings outward and is planted on the front of the bus, so you don't pass the bus and run a child over that walks in front of that bus. It doesn't matter if you are 100' behind the bus, 1 foot behind the bus, 1 foot past the rear bumper or are approaching the front of the bus, you stop when the red lights and sign activate.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.......

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Passing a School Bus on a Four Lane Highway

    Quote Quoting Who'sThatGuy
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    And this is why there is a red stop sign with red flashing lights that swings outward and is planted on the front of the bus, so you don't pass the bus and run a child over that walks in front of that bus. It doesn't matter if you are 100' behind the bus, 1 foot behind the bus, 1 foot past the rear bumper or are approaching the front of the bus, you stop when the red lights and sign activate.
    Congratulations to "Who'sThatGuy" for adding no helpful information to this discussion.
    You are a moron. This bus did have a stop sign but it wasn't out until I was just behind the bus. Do you even know what the stopping distance is for a standard vehicle that's going 30-40 mph is? It's 118 feet, so you're saying that I should have defied physics and just came to a complete stop 1 foot behind the bus even though legally it should be 20 feet?

    If you're going to add your opinion to a forum, at least have it be intelligent. I was trying to avoid having people like you add their "two cents" to this post by adding that "I know why the law is in effect".

    If you read the post, I asked for "some legal opinions on the circumstances" not random useless opinions.

    Thank you to those who had useful information!

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