Any Massachusetts driver has likely been stuck behind a school bus at some point and found themselves in the odd position of becoming disgruntled about a bus driver who is trying to safely deliver our children to and from school.

It’s a natural reaction to think, Why is this bus moving so slow when I’m already running behind? Of course we know the reason – again, it’s all about the students’ safety – and we are grateful for it. Yet it still doesn’t stop us from uttering a few words under our breath.

Did you know, however, that school buses in Massachusetts are actually required by law to only go so fast, regardless of what the speed limit may be on a particular road?

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According to Massachusetts General Law, “Except on a limited access highway, no person shall operate a school bus at a rate of speed exceeding forty miles per hour, while actually engaged in carrying school children.”

A “limited access highway” is defined as one where there are no intersections and there is a division between vehicles traveling in opposite directions, such as a divider or median.

So if children are on the school bus, and the bus isn’t riding down the interstate or other such highway, the bus is required by law to travel at no faster than 40 miles per hour. That’s why the bus is moving so slow.

Hopefully you also know that if a school bus is stopped and has its lights flashing and its retractable stop sign out, vehicles on both sides of the road must come to a complete stop. The fine in Massachusetts for illegally passing a school bus is $200, and repeat offenders could face a license suspension.

And if you didn’t know, consider yourself schooled.

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