When Is It Legal To Pass A Stopped School Bus?


Someone asked me recently whether a driver had to stop when going past a school bus that was headed the opposite direction on a divided road. I thought not, but had to check to be sure.

The law in Texas is that if you’re behind a school bus that stops to let a student on or off the bus, you also must stop and stay behind the bus. Likewise, if you’re on a street or highway and are headed the opposite direction as the bus, you must stop. (The kid might cross the street, right?)

But if you’re traveling the opposite direction as the bus, and the street or highway you’re on has some type of physical barrier to divide the two sides of the road, you do not have to stop.

These rules are contained in the Texas Transportation Code – Section 545.066. Passing A School Bus. Here are the relevant excerpts:

§ 545.066. PASSING A SCHOOL BUS;  OFFENSE.

(a) An operator on a highway, when approaching from either direction a school bus stopped on the highway to receive or discharge a student:

(1)  shall stop before reaching the school bus when the bus is operating a visual signal as required by Section 547.701; and

(2)  may not proceed until:

(A)  the school bus resumes motion;

(B)  the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed;  or

(C)  the visual signal is no longer actuated.

(b)  An operator on a highway having separate roadways is not required to stop:

(1)  for a school bus that is on a different roadway; or

(2)  if on a controlled-access highway, for a school bus that is stopped:

(A)  in a loading zone that is a part of or adjacent to the highway;  and

(B)  where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.

(f)  For the purposes of this section:

(1)  a highway is considered to have separate roadways only if the highway has roadways separated by an intervening space on which operation of vehicles is not permitted, a physical barrier, or a clearly indicated dividing section constructed to impede vehicular traffic; and

(2)  a highway is not considered to have separate roadways if the highway has roadways separated only by a left turn lane.

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Samuel Webb
    May 19th, 2013 | 12:44 am

    Does State or federal law stat “where” a School Bus CAN stop to “receive or discharge students”?
    On a 5 lane road (including the left turn lane), can a School Bus receive or discharge students in it’s left lane or the left turn lane even if it’s right lane is not obstructed? This is Texas…

    I have a video of a School Bus stopping in it’s left lane (with no obstructions in the right lane) lights on and NOT discharging passengers. It was not admitted in the court. I received a ticket with the bus in the same position (and not discharging passengers, but had it’s red lights on.
    I have never seen this and have found out that the CDL manual is not law.

  2. Bob Kraft
    May 20th, 2013 | 12:17 pm

    Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to learn of your problem, but I’m afraid I just don’t know the answer to your question.

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