Arlington Increasing Enforcement of Vehicle Passing School Buses
In Virginia, passing a stopped school bus on a public street can be charged as either a basic traffic infraction, or as a reckless driving misdemeanor charge. Obviously, the potential punishments between the different types of charges is substantial. A traffic infraction is limited to a fine and negative points on your driving record, while a criminal misdemeanor can result in up to 12 months jail, a $2,500 fine, 6 months loss of driver’s license, and 6 points on your driving record.
Virginia Code 46.2-860 provide the following:
Passing a stopped school bus as a reckless driving charge applies to anyone driving in Virginia who fails to stop, when approaching from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road, or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children, the elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons, and to remain stopped until all the persons are clear of the highway, private road, or school driveway and the bus is put in motion.
Arlington police officers have acknowledged a growing problem with vehicles passing stopped school buses that are unloading children. To combat this growing issue, officers are choosing to charge a greater number of these incidents as reckless driving. Consequently, if you are charged with reckless driving after passing a stopped school bus, you should strongly consider hiring an experienced reckless driving attorney to defend you against that criminal charge.
In addition to the greater number of incidents being charged as reckless driving, Arlington has committed to outfitting county school buses with cameras in order to catch those vehicles that pass school buses when there isn’t a police officer near by.
Reckless driving charges for passing stopped school buses, however, are not limited to Arlington. Virginia lawmakers have acknowledged that this is an increasing concern throughout the entire state, and especially in Northern Virginia. Specifically, throughout Fairfax, Loudoun, Stafford, and Prince William counties, police officers are increasingly charging vehicles that pass stopped school buses with reckless driving, rather than the traditional traffic infraction.