When to stop for school buses: The difference between Missouri and Kansas

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s back to school for many schools throughout Missouri and Kansas, and that means school buses are back on the roads.

The school bus extends it’s stop arm when picking up students, and the rules seem simple enough. Stop means stop. However, school bus laws differ slightly from state to state, and there’s one little difference between Missouri and Kansas.


According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri drivers must stop for school buses when the stop arm is extended on all two-lane roads, regardless of the direction of the drivers. Motorists also must stop in either direction even if there is a central turn lane in between the lanes of traffic.

However, motorists driving the opposite direction of the school bus DO NOT have to stop if there are four or more lanes on the road.


Almost all of the school bus stop laws are the same in Kansas as they are in Missouri, according to the Kansas State Department of Education.

However, traffic moving in the opposite direction DOES have to stop for school buses on four-lane roadways if there is no median separating the different directions of travel. If there is a median, traffic moving in the opposite direction does not have to stop.

Violation of these laws can result in more than $400 worth of fines.

For information about federal school bus laws and best practices, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration’s guide to school bus safety.

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