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Q

In Connecticut if I get a ticket for passing a stopped school bus, how will this affect my insurance? What penalties could I be facing in terms of fines, suspension of license or points, jail, etc?


A

As the Connecticut driver's manual notes, as a driver you must stop for a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing whether it is on your side of the road, the opposite side of the road, or at an intersection you are approaching. You are not required to stop if the bus is traveling towards you and a median or other physical barrier separates the roadway. After the school bus' red lights have stopped flashing, watch for children along the side of the road and do not proceed until they have completely left the roadway and it is safe to proceed.

In Connecticut it looks like for passing a stopped school bus you would be cited under Connecticut Code Section 14-279. Under this portion of Connecticut law it says that the operator of any vehicle, motor vehicle, or authorized emergency vehicle shall immediately bring such vehicle to a stop not less than ten feet from the front when approaching and not less than ten feet from the rear when overtaking or following any registered school bus on any highway or private road or in any parking area or on any school property when such bus is displaying flashing red signal lights, except at the specific direction of a traffic officer.

Furthermore it goes on to say that vehicles so stopped for a school bus shall not proceed until such bus no longer displays flashing red signal lights. At the intersection of two or more highways vehicular turns toward a school bus receiving or discharging passengers are prohibited. The operator 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.

Under subsection (b) of this Connecticut law it notes that any person who violates the above section of law shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars for the first offense and for each subsequent offense, not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days or both.

So it would appear for a first time offense you are only looking at a fine between $100 and $500 but if this was your second or subsequent offense the fine would be between $500 and $1000 and/or be in jail for up to 30 days. There is not mention as you can see of any action taken against your driver's license. The Connecticut infraction list we have seen says that a first offense fine for passing a school bus usually comes to $460.

The Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) also not does mention any sort of license penalty to be taken for the offense of passing a stopped school bus but you can verify this by contacting them directly.

As for how this violation, if you are convicted of it, will affect your insurance rates - it will depend upon the rating system of your insurance provider. Passing a stopped school bus is typically thought of by an insurance carrier as a major offense just as most states do. In Connecticut, this offense comes with 4 points on your driving record and the other offenses that the assign so many points include a speed contest, following too closely and intent to harass other drivers. With a major offense your rates are more likely to increase and by a greater amount.

The reason passing a school bus is thought of as major is namely that there is the chance if you pass a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading children you may hit a child and that is risky behavior as a driver.

If your Connecticut premiums do go up with your current insurance company due to a conviction of this ticket you can click here to get affordable auto insurance.


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