Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr clarified the confusing interpretation of a recent change in a law, HB 978, relating to stopping and passing near school buses.
Carr stated in an opinion that ” this statute, as amended by the General Assembly during the 2018 session, does not require a vehicle travelling on a three or five lane road divided by a center turn lane to stop for a school bus that is stopped on the opposite side of the road with its visual signals engaged.
Before 2018, the law read in relevant part: “The driver of a vehicle upon a highway with separate roadways need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus which is on a different roadway . . . .”
Carr’s opinion also said that the language is not being applied correctly in the revised law. “The statute expanded the scope of vehicles that are not required to stop for a school bus to include those traveling on the other side of a highway ‘divided by a center turn lane,’” according to the opinion.
State School Superintendent Richard Woods agreed with Carr for the clarification of the revised law and said that changes need to be made to follow best practices to ensure student safety. The new law “does not reflect best practices to ensure student safety, and could endanger Georgia’s kids as they travel to and from school,” stated Woods.
Woods claims he will be working with the General Assembly next year to make clarifying changes to the law.
The law’s changes went into effect on July 1, 2018.