(a) The driver of a vehicle upon a street, highway, private way, private or public parking area upon meeting or overtaking from any direction any bus marked as “school bus” whenever the bus is being operated in accordance with § 31-20-11 and on which there is in operation flashing red lights, shall stop the vehicle before reaching the bus. The driver shall not proceed until the bus resumes motion or until the flashing lights are no longer actuated. No driver of any motor vehicle, except emergency vehicles on official business, shall travel in the same lane of traffic behind a school bus at a distance of less than fifty feet (50′). A person convicted of a violation of this section shall be punished by a fine not to exceed three hundred dollars ($300) and/or suspension of driving license for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days for the first offense, and a mandatory fine of not less than three hundred dollars ($300) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) and/or revocation of driving license for a period of one year for each subsequent offense.
(b) A peace officer may issue a summons based on the statement or testimony of a school bus driver or monitor or other private citizen provided that the statement or testimony provides the peace officer with sufficient probable cause that a violation under this section was committed. Any conviction under this section may be punished in accordance with subsection (a) of this section.
(P.L. 1950, ch. 2595, art. 31, § 7; G.L. 1956, § 31-20-12; P.L. 1965, ch. 96, § 1; P.L. 1968, ch. 40, § 1; P.L. 1969, ch. 51, § 1; P.L. 1979, ch. 188, § 1; P.L. 1980, ch. 267, § 1; P.L. 1983, ch. 91, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 114, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 401, § 1; P.L. 1987, ch. 133, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 359, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 510, § 1.)