January 14, 2016- Richmond, VA
A bus stop near the intersection of Warwick Road and Fernbrook Drive was the scene of a tragic accident Tuesday afternoon, when a passing motorist traveling north on Warwick struck a student exiting a Richmond Public School bus. The student is remains hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the driver of the vehicle remained at the scene of the crash to be interviewed by officers. Charges against the driver are pending.
In Virginia, passing a stopped school bus is not only incredibly dangerous; it is also illegal.
Motorists in the Commonwealth are required to stop for any stopped school bus that has flashing red lights and an extended stop sign. Drivers must remain stopped until all children are clear and the bus moves again.
On the other hand, drivers who are traveling in the opposite direction on a roadway with a median or barrier dividing the road – and the bus is on the opposite side of the median or barrier – do not have to come to stop.
There are two laws in Virginia related to school bus safety: 1. §VA 46.2-859, a reckless driving statute, and 2. §VA 46.2-844, a traffic infraction statute. Conviction under either statute results in six demerit points on the guilty motorist’s Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles driving record.
Moreover, drivers convicted under §VA 46.2-859 face a class 1 misdemeanor and the actual possibility of going to jail, a six months suspension of driving privileges in Virginia plus a maximum fine of $2,500.00.
Similarly, drivers convicted under §VA 46.2-844 are subject to a maximum fine of $250.00, in addition to the six demerit points discussed above.