Nebraska Law Clarifies Passing of School Buses, Strengthens Fines

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Motorists in Nebraska can be fined $500 and be assessed three points on their driver’s license for failing to stop for school buses that are loading or unloading school children per a revised law that goes into effect on Thursday.

LB1039 also clarifies for school bus drivers that they must activate their yellow warning signals no less than 300 feet from a school bus stop located within city limits and no less than 500 feet and no more than 1,000 feet from a stop outside of city limits.

Motorists who approach a school bus with the yellow warning lights activated are required to reduce speed to 25 mph and come to a complete stop when the school bus driver activates the red flashers. Drivers must remain stopped until the school bus resumes motion. A previous provision that allowed motorists to proceed when waved on by the school bus driver was removed.

School bus drivers are also required to ensure 400 feet of clear vision in each direction of a road or highway before they may initiate a stop. If this is not possible as determined by the school district, the law states, the driver may stop if road signage is installed that indicates a school bus stop is ahead.

Additional language added flashing red signal lights in place of stop warning lights and added school-sponsored activities to a provision on removing school bus markings from vehicles not engaged in regular transportation from home to school and back.

The statute revision was introduced in January by state Sen. Lydia Brasch and was approved by Gov. Dave Heineman in April.