School is back in session and that means new things to watch out for while driving the streets of the Magic Valley. School speed zones are now enforced, School buses will be stopping frequently to load and unload children, and more children at crosswalks. But not always. I say not always because there is a good chance that you'll also see kids crossing at non-crosswalk locations. Failure to obey the now-in-effect school-related laws could result in fines for drivers. The fines for some infractions have been increased recently by the Idaho State Legislature including the first-time fine for failure to stop when a school bus has the stop arm extended. That fine is now $200.

The school bus stop arm law is not fully understood by many drivers as I witnessed today on Washington Street near Park Ave in Twin Falls. The road is 4 lanes wide and a school bus had stopped with the arm out. I was in the far right lane heading towards the school bus and did not stop. A man behind the school bus shook his fist at me as I drove past and yelled something probably not nice (my window was up). The Boise Police posted a graphic on Facebook with an explanation to make it easy to know when you are required to stop. The simple explanation is that on two and three-lane roads traffic in both directions must stop. On roads with 4 or more lanes, only traffic behind the school bus is required to stop.

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Law enforcement will be monitoring school zones and crossings more in the next few weeks to help ensure drivers respect the proper laws.

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