JACKSON, Miss. — A recently passed bill clarifies the circumstances in which Mississippi drivers don’t have to stop for school buses that are loading or unloading students.
The legislation, HB 110, was approved by Gov. Phil Bryant on April 5 and goes into effect on July 1. It specifies that on a divided highway with at least two lanes of travel in each direction, motorists don’t need to stop for a school bus that is stopped on the other side.
Before 2011, Mississippi law required drivers to stop for loading or unloading school buses on all roadways, including four-lane highways. The passage of Nathan’s Law in 2011 added an exemption that stated:
“The driver of a vehicle upon a highway that has four (4) lanes or more, whether or not there is a median or turn lane, need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus that is on a different roadway or when upon a controlled-access highway if the school bus is stopped in a loading zone that is a part of or adjacent to the highway and where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.” HB 110, the bill that was passed in April, essentially clarifies that the highway has to be divided, and has to permit at least two lanes of travel in each direction, for a motorist to not have to stop for a school bus that is stopped in the opposing roadway.
Sam Bailey, transportation director at Biloxi (Miss.) Public Schools and a governor's task force member, told SBF that HB 110 was prompted by a request from the AARP, which sought clarification about when Mississippi drivers need to stop for stopped school buses.
For his part, Bailey has developed a training aid that uses diagrams (as seen above) of bus stops in various types of roadways. The main goal for the aid, Bailey said, is “to assist and further educate patrol law enforcement officers to clarify the complexity of the law through illustrations."