I ran a stopped school bus


Hello everyone. It’s a really sad day for me in NEWYORK.

Let me start by using the picture above. I’m on a road with 4 lanes ( 2 lanes on each side) and I’m driving in the left lane on the right side of the road with a huge semi truck in front of me and another about one car length ahead of me in the right lane.

The truck in the lane I’m traveling moves over to the left exist lane and then stops, and my path becomes clear.

Shortly afterwards, the truck in the right lane slows down before coming to a stop, and I’m confused as to why it stops as there is no traffic light or sign calling for the truck to stop.

Obviously, the trucks are huge and tall and I cannot see around them to know what’s in front, so I slow down, too, and prepare myself for possible pedestrians walking out in the street in front of the truck to the right.

I see nothing, so I proceed on and that’s when I blindly commit a serious violation of the law.

A school bus, on the opposite side of the road ( far left and its presence is blocked by the truck on my side of the road to the left, is stopped with its arm out.

The police is at the scene observing and begins to follow me before pulling me over to issue me with a ticket for failing to stop for the school bus.

The offense is severe, includes 30 days jail time and up to $400 in fine, and 5 points on my driver license.

Should I hire an anthony to help me with this crazy situation or am I out of luck ?

I’m in shock at this moment that I had passed a stopped school bus.

Although ignorance of the law is not an excuse, not knowing that you were breaking the law can be. Your view of the schoolbus was obstructed, so I think you would have a case if you could prove that.

Have a trial by jury and hire Anthony the attorney if his rates are good. Often attorneys will won’t tell you that they can’t actually help you win the case until after you have hired them and the payment is secured.

In Illinois opposite bound traffic does not have to stop for a school bus on a 4 lane road.

I’m dumbfounded. I asked the cop why was I pulled over and he explained why. When he said it was for a school bus infraction, I was in shock — I asked where and when ?

He didn’t care that I was obstructed by the trucks; he advised that I paid more attention to my surrounding.

I feel like a failure. Something like a stopped school bus is not something I would deliberately ignore.

And now I’m in hot water with the law. :disappointed:

Your not the first, nor will you be the last, pay the fine and move on.


I would definitely hire a lawyer in this case to make sure the maximum penalty is avoided.


I did that once in MA. Wasn’t ticketed. The school bus was opposite direction far left lane compared to me. I was in the far right lane next to the bus was a large truck that completely blocked my view. Didn’t even know the bus was there. The light turned to green, I went (no kids crossing the road). I noticed that no one else was moving and that’s when I saw the stopped school bus.

Lawyer NOW


I don’t have any useful experience to share here, because:
A. What you did isn’t even illegal where I live.
B. I don’t understand what you mean by points on your license.
C. People don’t go to jail for traffic violations.

But I will say you should fight this, either yourself in whatever traffic court hears these cases, or by consulting with a lawyer. Because:
A. You can’t reasonably be expected to obey a traffic sign or stoplight that is obstructed from your view.
B. The law is unreasonable, there’s no reason to stop 5 lanes of traffic for a bus stopped in one. You could ask if the law is consistently and fairly enforced everywhere or if you’re being made an example.
C. You had no obvious reason to suspect there was a bus. The truck stopped in the center lane may have parked there to unload, the truck in the right lane may have slowed or stopped to enter a driveway. You showed due diligence by slowing and checking for pedestrians.

If it were me, I would assume the truck in the center lane had stopped to offload cargo, and the truck in the right lane was waiting for clearance to turn into a driveway, or wait for me to pass so he could swing wide to make that turn.
But then again none of us would have a reason to stop for a bus across the street.


The OP can count this as one more vote for hiring an attorney, whether his/her name is Anthony, or George, or Martha, or… whatever. The NY DMV’s website provides the following details:

  • First conviction - fine of $250-$400 and/or up to 30 days in jail
  • Second conviction within 3 years - fine of $600-$750 and/or up to 180 days in jail
  • Third conviction (or more) within 3 years - fine of $750-$1000 and/or up to 180 days in jail

An attorney whose specialty is defending people charged with MV violations should be able to prevent you from serving any jail time.

The OP will incur a penalty of 5 points on his DL record, but as long as he doesn’t accumulate a total of 11 points w/in 18 months, his license won’t be suspended. However, the OP’s car insurance might increase as a result of 5 points on his license.

And, I really hope that the OP ignores the intentionally inflammatory and inaccurate statement below:

In reality…


Hello everyone.

Thank you very much.

I reached out to a lawyer today, paid for my service and told my lawyer that the people from CarTalk have been incredibly helpful with advising me on various topics. He told me it is very good advice to indeed hire a lawyer with a situation like this.

Thank you so much. Wish me all the best with this nightmare :+1:

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Thank you :smirk: for your continued attempts to convert this automobile-centric site into one dedicated to political polemics.


I understand what you mean. Let me explain myself. After the truck in front of me went over to the left existing lane ( center ) and stopped, my view in front became clear, meaning there was no car in front of me and the truck to the right, but traffic on the opposite direction was stationary. I thought at that moment the reason for no one moving was due to traffic light or traffic jam. The truck to the right stopped and I was confused right there thinking it might have stopped for a pedestrian since I cannot see around the truck.

I’m still heartbroken over the whole thing. :disappointed:

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Everybody is capable of making a mistake. I’m sure that you didn’t pass that schoolbus intentionally, so I think that you should just chalk this up to a mistake on your part, albeit a potentially costly one. The bottom line is that nobody died, or was injured, and no vehicles were damaged.

I think that you should remember that everything in life has the potential to be a learning experience, and I am sure that you did learn something of value from this incident. Just “man-up”–with the help of an attorney–pay the penalty, and then go on with your life.


Thank you very much.

You will need a good lawyer and a lenient judge. From carefully reading your post, I surmised that the truck in the right lane slowed down first, opening a gap for you to change lanes from the left to the right and go around the truck that was in front of you.

That in itself is a careless move. What if it had been a pedestrian that suddenly stepped into your path from in front of the truck? What if it was a child that had broken free from its mother? What if it was a puppy, or worse a puppy with a child chasing it?

BTW, I once stopped in the left lane of a 4 lane street for a mother and child, (in a cross walk at an uncontrolled intersection) the child broke free and ran into the path of another car passing me in the right lane. Fortunately, it just missed the child and the car behind the idiot did stop and we waited for the mother to catch her child.

When people all around you are stopping, you should too until you know for sure it is safe to proceed. It appears that you were in a big hurry and didn’t consider safety at all.

But at least you were not as bad as the woman who went around the “special needs” bus, on the sidewalk between the bus and the school entrance where a handicapped child was about to come out to be loaded onto that bus. The judge did not treat her kindly.

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First of all, the penalties are all “up to”, not definite, and the likelihood of jail time being imposed is nonexistant, unless you show up to court and curse out the judge. Second, the decision to hire an attorney should be purely a financial decision, i.e. how much will the attorney charge compared to how much I would have to pay in fines and higher insurance if I am found guilty of the alleged violation?

This is all good news, and assuming the officer was wearing a body camera, you (or your attorney, if you use one) can subpoena the video footage of the encounter. If the officer was truthful in filling out the report,the written record will already show that the defendant (you) denies even seeing a school bus.

And this brings me to my most important point: Although ignorance of the law is not an excuse, at a minimum, reckless disregard must be shown to establish guilt. Consider the following two defenses:

  1. “I did not know that passing a school bus on the opposite side of a 4-lane road is illegal in New York”.
  2. “I did not know there was a school bus nearby until I was stopped by police and accused of passing it. A large semi-truck blocked my view, and I had no idea why it was stopped.”

#1 is an “ignorance of the law” defense, and is unlikely to hold up in court. #2 goes to attack the states theory that a criminal violation occurred because you had no intent (and no way of realizing that a crime was occurring, until being accused by police after the fact.)

Personally, I would try to fight this myself, but just to be clear, I am not an attorney, and none of this is considered legal advice.

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Carefully read your state’s driver’s handbook, the one you have to study to pass the written driving test. There may be add’l pertinent info there. (Pay particular att’n for exceptions when there’s a divided highway.)

Beyond that, if you are asking what I’d do, I’d just prepare a brief easy to understand presentation of what occurred to present to the judge, including photos of that location taken when there’s a school bus there, and not. If you can get some photos with big trucks appx where they were, even better. Measuring distances between things in the photos can make your case appear more sound. The judge will like to base his ruling on non-disputable facts more than your opinion. The more polite and considerate you appear to the judge, and the less belligerent is probably for the better. (If my prior record had some major blemishes, I’d at least consult a lawyer.)

Worse case, if everything went against me, I’d get sent to the slammer for 30 days. Not the end of the world.

In the way of perspective, just the other day there was a news story here in Calif about a man that was found sleeping in a girl’s shower at the local high school gym. The girls had entered to get undressed/dressed for gym class, found garbage and debris all over the floor, and a bad smell, so they called the police. The police’s solution was only to escort the man off the campus.

That calculation can only be done when one is pretty sure of the cost of the outcomes. Getting a lawyer may not improve things, but it certainly could, and I take ‘Clueless33’ at his screen name, they need all the help they can get. A mistake in a statement or a procedural error could quickly make things worse.

They’re doing the right thing getting a lawyer.


Talk to the prosecuting party, city attorney etc. See if you can workout a plea deal.

Yes, if the lawyer does that. I wouldn’t want to do it.