In the state of New York, a school bus is a vehicle owned, leased or contracted by a public school district, nonpublic school district or board of cooperative educational services for the purpose of transporting students.
In New York, drivers must stop for a school bus if its red lights are flashing, even if the bus is on the other side of a divided highway. This is unique to the state, as most others do not require that vehicles stop for buses on highways unless they are traveling in the same direction.
When vehicles do stop for a school bus, they should be at least 20 feet away. Stopping closer to the rear of a school bus could result in a ticket. It is not legal to pass a school bus while the red lights are flashing. School buses do not have to be accepting or dropping off students to turn on the red flashing lights.
A bus driver is permitted to wave drivers past even if the red lights are flashing. If you are waved on by a bus driver, you are permitted to legally pass the vehicle. If you are waved on by a bus driver, it is recommended that you be very sure that that is what is occurring before you attempt to pass. If you misread the driver’s waving or other signal and choose to pass, you could be given a ticket.
Any person charged with violating one of these laws may be subject to a fine in an amount between $250 and $400. Drivers convicted will receive an automatic five points on their license. Subsequent offenses could result in stiffer penalties per offense.