Now that the kids are back in school, here’s a helpful reminder that in Virginia (and probably most, if not all, of the other states) you’re guilty of reckless driving — a Class 1 misdemeanor (§ 46.2-868) — if you fail to stop when a school bus’s lights indicate that it’s stopping to pick up or drop off its passengers. See § 46.2-859. The punishment for a class 1 misdemeanor can be stiff, but if you actually kill someone while violating this statute, it becomes a class 6 felony, for which the punishment is even greater.
If you’re having any trouble understanding your obligations under the statute, refer to the helpful illustration on page 14 of the the Virginia Driver’s Manual. To summarize, if you’re in a car and see the flashing lights, stop and wait. Wherever you’re going, it isn’t worth killing a child to get there on time, and based on this video, referring to that risk is not hyperbole. The video also shows that, in some states, they’re watching you.
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Rob Bodine is a Virginia attorney focusing his practice on real estate and intellectual property law. He’s currently Virginia counsel with First Class Title, Inc., a Maryland title insurance and settlement company. Rob is also a licensed title insurance agent in Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.