NC School Bus Stop Law
Listed below are the bus stop rules complete with pictures for our visual learners.
BOTH DIRECTIONS OF TRAFFIC MUST STOP FOR A STOPPED SCHOOL BUS WITH A STOP ARM DEPLOYED:
1. On a two-lane road;
2. On a two-lane road with a center turn lane; and
3. On a four-lane road without a median.
ONLY TRAFFIC FOLLOWING THE BUS STOPS WHEN THE STOP ARM IS DEPLOYED:
1. Divided highway with 4 lanes or more with median separation; and
2. Roadway of four lanes or more with a center turning lane.
To summarize, if you are on a two-lane road and a bus puts on its blinking red lights and puts out the stop sign, STOP. It doesn’t matter what side of traffic you are on, you have to stop. If you are on a four-lane road and you are behind the bus, you have to stop regardless of whether there is a median or a turn lane when the bus puts on the flashing lights and puts out its stop sign. However, you only stop on a four-lane road in the opposite direction of the bus if there is no median or turn lane.
FYI. The yellow warning lights on a school bus warns drivers that the school bus is preparing to stop. A red stop lights and stop sign will not deploy until the bus has come to a complete stop.
If you are more of a visual learner, these pictures with the rules may help you to remember. To learn more about school bus safety and rules, you can visit theNorth Carolina School Bus Safety Website. Remember the school bus stop laws vary from state to state. Before traveling out of the state, please check the state's school bus stop laws.
Here are examples of when traffic in both directions MUST stop when a school bus stops to load and unload passengers:
And here are examples of when only traffic following the bus must stop when a school bus stops to load and unload passengers: