LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Do you know when to stop for a school bus? As more districts in Kentucky and Indiana begin the 2019-20 school year, knowing the laws and subsequent penalties of driving near a school bus is a must.

If you are behind a school bus with its stop arm out and red lights flashing, you must stop.

That's the case in Kentucky for anyone driving in any lane and in any direction on a road consisting of two to three lanes, including the turning lane. If you are on a highway or road with a median or more than four lanes, you do not have to stop for a bus while driving the opposite direction.

In Louisville alone, more than 900 buses will hit the streets Wednesday for the first day of class for Jefferson County Public Schools, adding to what may already be a busy commute for some.

"We've had 8 weeks without bus traffic. Don't try to make up that time by speeding past a bus or crosswalk. We're going to have 70,000 kids riding the bus and 20,000 walking to school," Michael Raisor, Chief Operations Officer with JCPS said.

In Indiana, laws for driving near a stopped bus are a little different. You must stop for a school bus no matter how many lanes of traffic there are, regardless of which direction you are headed.

There is one exception to the rule: you're in the clear if the road is divided by a physical barrier or median and you're on the opposite side of a bus. In this case, only those traveling in the same direction as the school bus need to stop.

Still, officials said to never assume kids won't be crossing these busier roads. Bus stops are different in every city.

Drivers who get caught passing a stopped school bus when they should not can lose their licence, receive anywhere from a year in jail and a hefty fine all the way up to six years in prison if someone is hurt or killed.

Right now, lawmakers on both sides of the river are advocating to get all school buses equipped with cameras on their stop arms in hopes of catching offenders. They plan to fund them with the money the city would receive in bus stop citations.


►Contact reporter Brooke Hasch at bhasch@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@WHAS11Hasch) and Facebook

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