I'm going to be real with you, this idea came to me because I wound up stuck behind someone who had stopped their car for a school bus. So, what's my problem, then? Washington state law says you have to stop for school buses, does it not? Well, yes, but no, not always.
When don't you have to stop for school buses in Washington?
Unless the red lights are flashing and the paddle (stop sign) of the bus has been extended, you are not legally required to stop for the bus. It's far more common that a bus will use its flashing red lights but that's not what happened in my initial story. If the person driving the car in front of me happens to read this article, please know I wasn't mad and I hope you didn't feel bad.
Emerald Ridge High School in Puyallup summed it up nicely by saying that "The flashing red lights, 'STOP' paddle, and crossing arm control the traffic lane that the school bus is in and the lane directly next to it." That explanation is pretty clear and really breaks the law down well. This means that in instances where a school bus is stopped and its red lights are flashing, you wouldn't have to stop if you're in an opposing lane two more lanes away. Four-lane streets would be that instance. Oh, and three-lane streets too.
Thank you to our Washington school bus drivers!
Since at least twenty years ago, Washington has always had over one million students enrolled in school and that number has gone up by at least 10,000 each year since 2012. That's a bigger population than the entire populations of Alaska, Wyoming, Vermont, North and South Dakota, and Delaware. Yeah, we have more kids in school in Washington than some states have in their population. What I'm saying is that's a lot of kids that are taking the bus. So, thank you to each and every school bus driver in Washington, including my sister-in-law, Larissa. I think it's important that we think of school buses as less of an inconvenience than a necessity to keep our kids safe.
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