According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, between 2004 and 2013, 1,344 people were killed in accidents involving school buses. With kids heading back to school in Marion and Seminole Counties this week and Hillsborough County next week, it is important to be aware that school buses will be on the roads and to take special precautions when driving near and around school buses.
Florida’s School Bus Stop Law
Under Florida’s school bus stop law, drivers traveling in the same direction as the school bus are required to stop when the school bus stops, has its red lights flashing, and has its stop sign extended. Drivers traveling in the opposite direction of the school bus are likewise required to stop when the school bus stops, has its red lights flashing, and has its stop sign extended.
When drivers are traveling in the opposite direction of the school bus on a highway or roadway that is divided by at least 5 feet of unpaved space, a raised median, or a physical barrier, only then are those drivers not required to stop for the stopped school bus. But, these drivers should approach and proceed through the area with caution.
A visual diagram of this law is provided by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles here.
A driver who violates Florida’s school bus stop law is guilty of a moving violation and will gain 4 points on his/her driving record. A driver’s license will be suspended when the driver accumulates so many points within a certain amount of time (for instance, 12 points gained in one year leads to a 30-day suspension). The violation is also punishable by a fine and completion of a driver improvement course.
Importance of the School Bus Stop Law
Florida’s school bus stop law is extremely important because it could prevent a collision between a car and a child.
When the school bus comes to a stop, it is letting school children off of the bus. The children getting off the bus may need to cross the street to get home. The child will begin to cross the street by walking in front of the bus. A car that comes from behind the bus will not be able to see the child walking in front of the bus. As the child continues across the street, the child may walk into the path of an oncoming car, coming from either direction. A collision between a car and a child is not a fair one, and may result in the death of the child.
Call Us Now
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident involving a school bus, you should call us immediately. From our office in Brandon, we help clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, East Hillsborough County and throughout the state of Florida. Contact Reed & Reed for a free consultation.