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ADOT: School is back, so are the buses

Stop when children are boarding, exiting the school bus

Football practices have resumed and shopping for new clothes is done, which means school is back is session. That also means school buses are driving through local neighborhoods, picking up and dropping off students of all ages. Drivers should expect to wait when a bus stop sign arm is extended so children can safely board and exit the bus. However, about 13,000 motorists each year are reported by Arizona school bus drivers for not stopping as required.

Since 2021, an online process allows the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) to send warning letters more quickly to owners of vehicles that were reported as not stopping for the school bus stop sign. 

Bus drivers can send a complaint of a stop sign violator directly to ADOT’s Motor Vehicle Division. They can fill out the form and click "Submit" and it goes to MVD. MVD then sends a notification letter, which is not a citation, to the vehicle owner as an effort to call attention to the seriousness of running the stop sign, which allows students getting on and off the bus a safe space to cross the street.

Previously, school bus drivers would fax forms to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, which then emailed or faxed the reports to MVD.

“Oftentimes, the reports were difficult to read, and it put DPS in the middle,” said MVD Senior Division Administrator Susan Trask. “We created an online form for the bus drivers to easily complete and submit directly to the MVD electronically, saving a step and allowing the notices to go out more quickly.”

Motorists who are issued citations by law enforcement officers for passing a school bus when a stop arm is extended could face a civil penalty and possibly a suspended driver's license under state law.