School Buses

School Buses

Florida School Bus Law

At some point in your driving career, it’s likely that you will encounter a school bus. It’s important to understand what you should do to prevent the chance of injuring others, getting ticketed, or both. Florida’s school transportation system is the fifth largest mass transportation system in the nation. For a variety of reasons, such as drivers abiding by school bus laws, a yellow school bus is the safest form of transit in America!

Overview of the School Bus Law

In general, you are most likely aware that you must stop when you are approaching a stopped or stopping school bus. The Florida School Bus Law requires motorists to stop when they are approaching a school bus that is flashing it’s red lights and has extended (or is in the process of extending) their stop signs. While this sounds like an obvious thing to do, it’s important to realize that you would need to stop even if you aren’t in the same lane as the school bus. This is because school buses carry children, and typically, when a school bus stops, children leave and often cross the road. In the event that there are multiple lanes traveling in the same direction as the school bus, and it comes to a stop, all of the lanes are required to stop.

Do I Have to Stop?

In most cases, you will need to stop. Even if there are several lanes of traffic between your vehicle and the school bus, you are still required to stop. This is demonstrated in the graphic below.

School Bus Multi Lane Without Barrier

However, there is a special case where you do not have to stop. If you are driving on a road with a raised or unpaved median that is at least five feet wide, you do not have to stop if you are moving in the opposite direction of the school bus. Instead, you can proceed with caution, since children _may_ attempt to cross. Just keep in mind that painted lines and pavement markings are not considered barriers.

School Bus Multi Lane With Barrier

Penalties

Failure to stop for a stopped or stopping school bus could result in a moving traffic violation with fines of at least $165. In addition to that, 4 points will be assessed to your license and you will be required to complete a driver improvement course within 90 days of the infraction or your license will be cancelled! In subsequent offenses within 5 years, the fine can increase up to $265 plus a license suspension from 90 days to a year. The huge range in penalties often depends on whether or not you passed a school bus on the side that children enter or leave.While the penalties are already severe, there are some groups that are fighting for increased penalties. Do your part to keep children safe, don’t attempt to pass a stopped school bus.


Resources

FLHSMV. Florida’s School Bus Stop Law.