BACK TO SCHOOL: What safety regulations should drivers follow in school zones?


The 2019-20 school year began for local schools in August, and motorists will notice school zones in effect and school buses on the road.

When driving through a school zone, motorists are required to obey reduced speed limits, which typically range from 15-25 miles per hour. According to Tennessee state law, drivers are prohibited from passing a school bus when it is loading or unloading, or when the bus is stopped and displaying flashing lights and a stop signal arm.

Motorists should also mind Tennessee Law 55-8-151, which mandates a driver must stop when near a school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal. If the road is divided by a left-turning or painted lane, drivers on both sides must stop, according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

If the lanes are separated by a physical barrier or median, only motorists traveling in the same direction as the bus are required to stop. Failure to comply with the state laws could result in a misdemeanor charge and fine of between $250-$1,000.

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Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.
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