Many drivers in New York have been accused of traffic violations. For those in certain professions like professional truck driving, even a minor a traffic violation can have a major impact on a career. Unlawfully passing a school bus is one such "minor" violation that trips up many motorists. Overtaking and passing a school bus is a violation of Section 1174 of the New York code.
A motorist can be charged if they are caught by law enforcement passing a bus from either direction if the bus has stopped on a public highway, street or private road for the intent of receiving or letting out passengers. This law is meant to protect the safety of children who may dart onto the street after being let out of a bus.
Any person convicted of passing a school bus can be punished for a first conviction by a fine of up to $250 to $400 or by imprisonment for up to 30 days or both. A second conviction within three years is punishable by a fine of $600 to $750 and imprisonment for up to six months or both. A third or subsequent conviction within three years is punishable by a fine of $750 to $1,000 and imprisonment for up to six months or both.
Traffic violations can have harsh consequences, especially for repeat offenders. A conviction for passing a school bus can lead to higher insurance premiums and disqualification from certain types of jobs even if it is the defendant's first offense. In some cases, a defense attorney can help keep the ticket off the defendant's record. The defendant may be allowed to take a driving course in exchange for keeping the ticket off their record, plead guilty to a less serious offense or pay civil penalties.