The Tennessee School Bus Stop Law – This is the law for a stopped school bus in the State of Tennessee and how to handle when you see that school bus stopped. #schoolbus

The Tennessee School Bus Stop Law

Sad that we have to put this out as a reminder as many motorist are ignoring the mandated School Bus Laws in many states including Tennessee. If you break this law you could face heavy fines, if not have your license revoked. Now this below is adapted from the Tennessee Driver’s Manual on page 51 (see image below for page 51).

Notice this law goes for both School Buses and Church Buses!

Meeting A School Bus:

Any driver meeting a school bus or church bus on which the red stop warning signal lights are flashing should reduce his speed and bring the vehicle to a complete stop while the bus stop signal arm is extended. The vehicle must remain stopped until the stop arm is pulled back and the bus resumes motion.

Overtaking A School Bus:

Any driver approaching a school bus or church bus from the rear shall not pass the bus when red stop warning signal lights are flashing. The vehicle must come to a complete stop when the bus is stopped. The vehicle must remain stopped until the stop arm is pulled back and the bus resumes motion.

The Tennessee School Bus Stop Law - This is the law for a stopped school bus in the State of Tennessee and how to handle when you see that school bus stopped. #schoolbus

School Bus Warning Lights:

It is illegal to pass a school bus that has stopped to load or unload students. Never pass on the right side of the bus, as this is where the children enter or exit. This is illegal and can have tragic results. You must stop and remain stopped until:

  • The bus has started moving, OR
  • The driver motions for you to proceed, OR
  • The visual signals are no longer activated such as the red flashing lights go off and/or the stop arm is pulled back.

Yellow Flashing Lights:

When the yellow lights on the front and back of the bus are flashing the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.

Red Flashing Lights:

When the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended this indicates that the bus HAS stopped and that children are now getting on or off the bus. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red flashing lights are turned off, the stop arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they start driving again.

When a school bus is stopped at an intersection to load and unload children, drivers from ALL directions are required to
stop until the bus resumes motion (as shown by the red vehicles in the diagram at right). It is a Class A misdemeanor and the driver can be fined between $250 and $1,000 for not stopping for a stopped school bus.

When driving on a highway with separate roadways for traffic in opposite directions, divided by median space or a barrier not suitable for vehicular traffic, the driver need not stop, but should proceed with caution. A turn lane in the middle of a four-lane highway is NOT considered a barrier, but a fifth lane that is suitable for vehicular traffic. Drivers meeting a stopped school bus on this type of road would be required to stop in both directions.

Sum it up

  • If you are on a two-way street, drivers in both directions must stop for the bus.
  • If you are on a divided highway with a left turn lane in the center, both directions of traffic must also stop for the bus.
  • However, if there’s a physical median in the middle of the road, one with grass or a concrete divider, only traffic on the side with the bus needs to stop. Vehicles heading in the opposite direction should still use caution.

Also keep in mind these bus traffic laws are specifically for Tennessee and can vary slightly from state to state.

More info at


Information in the Tennessee Driver’s Manual is not copyrighted and may be reproduced or translated by the user as needed, thus why it is used as-is from the manual in this blog post. Remember each state has it’s own School Bus Stop Laws, check with your local state.

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By Steve Patterson

A Christian Blogger that enjoys blogging about the Bible, Theology, God, Jesus Christ, Christian Music, Family, Cats, Odd Holidays and much more. I have been blogging since 2004, however, I have been blogging on Courageous Christian Father since 2012. I enjoy listening to Christian Music. I am married with 1 daughter, 2 step-sons and a step daughter.

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