Q: My husband got a traffic ticket in the morning while dropping our son to school. He passed a school bus stopped
My husband got a traffic ticket in the morning while dropping our son to school. He passed a school bus (failed to notice) stopped in the opposite direction. He was going to drop off our son to school early. The incident happened right after he backed out from our driveway. It was a chaotic morning. I was supposed to drop off my son and then last minute asked him. Husband has good driving record. My son had a special in school due to which he had to be dropped off early. Do you think if we show that evidence (we have email from school requesting early drop off), our driveway being very close to the stopped bus in the opposite direction, that might be helpful? Thanks a lot!
Under VTL 1174, a driver must stop for a school bus picking up or discharging passengers. It's a straight forward statute with no consideration of the driver's intent. Your personal necessity (of getting to school early) or other factors (such as a bad weather, "everybody was passing - why me", or "didn't see it") will not constitute a defense. The only defense will probably be lack of elements under the law including that a red visual signal was not in operation at that time and that the vehicle didn't have the required signs, identifying it as a school bus, painted on the proper color background, etc.
This violation carries a high fine even for the 1st offense (and a surcharge) as well as DMV points (5 points), if convicted. Your license can be revoked if you had the same violation in the recent years (this goes to future concern too). You may want to retain a local lawyer to negotiate a plea with the prosecuting attorney. Some prosecutors reduce/amend a school bus violation to a 2-point violation or possibly no-point offense, but others don't. Westchester may not be one of the most citizen-friendly venues, but defending your charge will probably be better than pleading straight to the original charge.
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