USA: Buses Letting People Get Off Into Danger

Would YOU, as a driver, unfailingly be expecting people to get off the blue bus in these photos, into the right-hand lane in front of you?

A few days ago, while we were running an advanced driving course in Albany, NY, we saw a bus stop in the second lane from the curb to let people get off, and it was horrifying to watch. Fortunately, no vehicles came.

This is where the CDTA bus stopped — you can clearly see the edge of the open door. The asphalt between it and the curb appears to be a regular lane, for traffic going straight ahead or turning right, and on other occasions we have certainly seen it used in that way. See the continuing sequence of photographs below. (Copyright image, 2019.)

There are times in various states when one can see buses stop, well away from the curb, to let people alight, and the danger from vehicles then passing the bus on the right-hand side is very obvious.

This is also a key element in a scary video posted by the Norwich City School District, also in New York State, yesterday (May 7. 2019), and linked below.

Here are the remaining photographs from the CDTA sequence, with those showing little children being particularly concerning. (Click on the smaller images to enlarge.)

The lady driver on the school bus clip (via Facebook), below, certainly did a great job in stopping the young man from getting off into the path of the car that was illegally passing while the bus stop lights undoubtedly were stopping, but most school buses don’t have stop arms or signs on their right-hand side, and even if they do, can there be any good reason for a bus stopping so far from the safety of the curb?

On the Facebook page for Norwich City School District, we asked about the asphalt that’s visible in the above video clip. On May 14, they replied:

Norwich City School District – Eddie WrenThat’s the shoulder of the road. Not supposed to pass vehicles on the shoulder.

And our reply:

Eddie Wren – Norwich City School DistrictI agree entirely. I asked because all that can be seen from inside the bus is asphalt (no shoulder- or lane-lines). But doesn’t this suggest that pulling the bus part way onto the shoulder to let children embark and alight would make such dangerous incidents less likely in the future? That must surely be an important issue in light of this incident.’

So that is the question we wish to pose in this post: What good reason can there possibly be for allowing buses (of any type) to stop away from the safety of the curb, or for school buses not to go at least part-way onto the shoulder to make incidents like this much less likely?

The moral of the tale, for good drivers, is that if you are in the right-hand lane and there is a bus or a school bus stopped in the lane to your left, please be very aware that, no matter how unwise, people may be obliged to get off at that location.


Please be aware that this website is registered with the United States Copyright Office and that punitive legal action for damages may be taken against anyone who breaches our copyright. This, however, does not stop you from posting links to any of our pages, and you are welcome to do so. This does NOT apply to the Norwich CSD video on this page, which has been posted here in support of public safety.

Author: EddieWren

Eddie Wren is the CEO and Chief Instructor at Advanced Drivers of North America. His driver safety background is given at:

2 thoughts on “USA: Buses Letting People Get Off Into Danger”

  1. Fancy letting people off a bus in the middle of the road. I can’t think of anything more stupid or likely to lead to a severe or even fatal casualty.

    1. Thanks, Lance. Since we posted the original article, we have received a reply (now included above) from the school district in which the video incident occurred. They are, of course, quite right about the car driver in the video. S/he clearly committed a dangerous infraction by driving on the shoulder to pass the bus, but — to me — this also begs the question about why not put the bus part-way onto the shoulder while kids get on and off, to physically discourage dangerous drivers from passing on the right.

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