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  1. #1
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    Default Stopping for School Buses in Private Parking Lots

    I'm looking for clarification on Tennessee's laws regarding stopping for a school bus that is picking up or dropping off kids. I haven't been able to find anything regarding this when in a private parking lot, but since police typically don't deal with accidents on private property, I'm wondering if I can be fined or prosecuted. If I recall correctly, the actual wording specifies "highways." I wouldn't think this applies, but I get the feeling the intent is that it applies anywhere that automobiles drive.

  2. #2
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    Oct 2016
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    Default Re: Stopping for School Buses in Private Parking Lots

    Tennessee Code 55-8-151 – Overtaking and passing school, youth or church bus — Markings — Discharging passengers — Penalties

    (a) (1) The driver of a vehicle upon a highway, upon meeting or overtaking from either direction any school bus that has stopped on the highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children, shall stop the vehicle before reaching the school bus, and the driver shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or is signaled by the school bus driver to proceed or the visual signals are no longer actuated. Subsection (a) shall also apply to a school bus with lights flashing and stop sign extended and marked in accordance with this subsection (a) that is stopped upon property owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution, if the bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children outside a protected loading zone.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Stopping for School Buses in Private Parking Lots

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    Subsection (a) shall also apply to a school bus with lights flashing and stop sign extended and marked in accordance with this subsection (a) that is stopped upon property owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution, if the bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children outside a protected loading zone.
    I'm assuming this is meant to apply to schools and/or places such as field trip destinations. Would that also apply to a bus picking up kids at an apartment complex?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stopping for School Buses in Private Parking Lots

    That "used by" would seem to allow anywhere on the planet. If courts are interpreting it that way, I have no idea.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Stopping for School Buses in Private Parking Lots

    Quote Quoting TurboT8er
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    I'm assuming this is meant to apply to schools and/or places such as field trip destinations. Would that also apply to a bus picking up kids at an apartment complex?
    The definition of highway in Tennessee Code 55-1-116 is:

    "Highway" or "street" means the entire width between boundary lines of every way publicly maintained, when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

    The law regarding overtaking buses applies in two circumstances: when the bus is on a highway (which per the above definition essentially means any public road when opened to the public for traffic) or the bus is located on property "owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution." A private parking lot of an apartment complex is neither one of those.

    Of course, should you see the stop sigh and flashing lights of the bus, fail to stop as you would need to do on a highway, and end up hitting a kid as a result, you'll likely be found liable for the injuries the kid suffered as a result, so I would not advise ignoring those warnings from the bus.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Stopping for School Buses in Private Parking Lots

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    Tennessee Code 55-8-151
    Seems pretty simple. The law applies to a "driver of a vehicle upon a highway" and also applies "upon property owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution." I think it highly unlikely that a parking lot at, e.g., the Adventure Science Center in Nashville -- which I assume to be located on privately owned property -- is not "property owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution" just because a school bus happens to be on that property. I think interpreting "used by" to include "anywhere on the planet" that a school bus happens to be would be unreasonable. However, one would need to research case law to be sure about this.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Stopping for School Buses in Private Parking Lots

    used to practice HR for a property management company in another state and yes, we allowed school buses to use our parking lots as bus stops with permission. So it might also depend on an agreement between the PMC and the school district. Honestly since the OP/driver would have no knowledge of this arrangement, other than seeing a bus drop off children in the parking lot, I'd suggest he/she follow the regular rules of bus signage/lights even in a private parking lot. Plus you never know when a child will dart out ESPECIALLY in a parking lot setting (which to me is MORE dangerous than a highway) towards a car that is not coming in an opposite direction.

    Think of it this way. Bus is stopped has its lights on in a parking lot...you keep going, don't see and strike a child...do you really want to make the argument to a jury or judge that the bus lights/laws don't apply because the bus is not on a public street? (as said by a mom of grown kids....)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: Stopping for School Buses in Private Parking Lots

    Quote Quoting pg1067
    View Post
    Seems pretty simple. The law applies to a "driver of a vehicle upon a highway" and also applies "upon property owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution." I think it highly unlikely that a parking lot at, e.g., the Adventure Science Center in Nashville -- which I assume to be located on privately owned property -- is not "property owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution" just because a school bus happens to be on that property. I think interpreting "used by" to include "anywhere on the planet" that a school bus happens to be would be unreasonable. However, one would need to research case law to be sure about this.
    I would likely agree with that. However, I think that stating that the streets inside an apartment complex are not considered to be streets in the normal sense, but a parking lot instead, is probably a stretch.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Stopping for School Buses in Private Parking Lots

    Quote Quoting TurboT8er
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    I'm looking for clarification on Tennessee's laws regarding stopping for a school bus that is picking up or dropping off kids. I haven't been able to find anything regarding this when in a private parking lot, but since police typically don't deal with accidents on private property, I'm wondering if I can be fined or prosecuted. If I recall correctly, the actual wording specifies "highways." I wouldn't think this applies, but I get the feeling the intent is that it applies anywhere that automobiles drive.
    Begs the question.

    Why are you looking for laws that would allow you to just drive past a school bus picking up children in a privately owned parking lot?

    People who ask those kinds of questions either got cited for something and they want to know how to beat it or they are idiots looking to commit offenses with impunity.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: Stopping for School Buses in Private Parking Lots

    Quote Quoting pg1067
    View Post
    I think it highly unlikely that a parking lot at, e.g., the Adventure Science Center in Nashville -- which I assume to be located on privately owned property -- is not "property owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution" just because a school bus happens to be on that property.
    As written, your statement above would indicate you think it UNLIKELY that a school bus parked at the Adventure Science Center would NOT be considered "property owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution". In other words, you would think it likely that it was property within that description. I suspect, however, that the double negative is not really what you intended here, given your use of the phrase "just because". If what you meant is that it is unlikely that the bus would be considered to be on "property owned, operated, or used by a school or educational institution" then I agree with you. It is not property owned, operated or used by a school, and I don't think the Adventure Science Center would fall within the definition of an "educational institution". In any event, it's pretty clear that an apartment complex parking lot is not included with the reach of the statute.

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