More than 95,000 motorists ran school bus stop arms in ONE DAY in 39 states in 2019.

Between 2009-2018, a total of 182 drivers in Black Hawk County were convicted of failing to stop for a School Bus. Linn County saw 658 convictions during that same time period.

Do you know when it is legal to pass a stopped school bus in Iowa with its lights on and stop arm extended?

According to


  • When the bus’s yellow flashers turn on, that signifies that it is preparing to have a child get on or off the bus. All vehicles behind the bus must come to a complete stop.
  • If you are approaching a bus from the opposite direction, slow your speed to 20 mph when the bus turns on its yellow flashers.
  • On a two-lane road, traffic in both directions must come to a full stop when the lights are flashing red.
  • On a four-lane road, traffic moving in the opposite direction must slow down and proceed with caution when either red or yellow flashers are present.
  • Stop your vehicle at least 15 feet from the bus.
  • Remain stopped until the flashing lights are turned off and the stop arm is pulled back in.
  • Failure to comply could result in a fine of $250 plus court costs.

The penalties are steep if you pass a stopped/slowing school bus:

Effective Aug. 15, 2012, a person's Iowa driving privilege will be suspended 30 days for a first conviction, 90 days for a second conviction, and 180 days for a third or subsequent conviction.

The first offense is also a fine of AT LEAST $250 and possibly up to 30 days in jail.

The second offense involves a fine of AT LEAST $315 and possible jail time of no more than one year.

Third and subsequent offenses: a fine of AT LEAST $315 AND possible jail time of no more than one year.


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