Do you remember the Driver’s Ed. lesson when your instructor taught about school bus etiquette? If you’re like most drivers in and around Tampa Bay, you’d answer no. Unfortunately, many drivers can’t quickly call to mind the rules of the road when it comes to school buses, and that could mean BIG trouble for you. Breaking the law when driving near a school bus full of children is a serious offense, and is treated as such. How can you avoid the consequences though if you don’t even know the laws regarding school buses on our local roads?
Here’s your refresher course in school bus etiquette and how you can protect our Florida kids, and yourself, by following the laws when driving near our buses this school year.
- NEVER pass a stopped school bus. Florida Statute §316.172makes clear that whether you’re directly behind the bus, in the lane beside it, or in oncoming traffic (with no median) you are required to come to a full and complete stop when the bus stops, puts on its flashers, and/or extends the stop signs. This requires awareness when driving near a bus, as you’ll have to be prepared to stop at any given moment when those flashers come on.
- You should always slow down as you approach a stopped bus, even if you are in the opposite flow of traffic (with a median) and aren’t required to stop. Children will be getting on/off the bus, and can quickly dart out in front of you. If you are going at full speed, you likely wouldn’t have time to stop. It’s best to slow down and avoid a potential tragedy.
- Be wary when driving near known school bus stops in and around your neighborhood. Here in Tampa, many subdivisions and neighborhoods have multiple stops for each bus. As you become familiar with these, be sure to drive cautiously, even if the bus isn’t stopped, or hasn’t yet arrived. Children and families often congregate in these areas waiting for young children who are unable to walk themselves to/from their home, and, as mentioned above, children can run out without notice. Better safe than sorry!
If you fail to follow these rules of the road, it can be costly! A first-offense fine for passing a stopped school bus in Florida can be as much as $200, and repeated offenses could result in a suspended license. What’s more, if you were to injure, or worse, kill, a child with your irresponsible actions, you’d have to live with both the legal consequences and your conscience. It’s never worth saving a few minutes to pass a school bus. Take the time to stop, follow the rules, and protect our local children.
Have you or someone you loved been injured in a bus accident, or because of the reckless or negligent actions of another? The team at Brooks Law Group is here to help. We are committed to making sure you get the help and compensation you need and deserve. We serve clients throughout the Tampa Bay area, and do our best to keep you informed and involved in your case from start to finish. Accidents happen, and when they do, look to Brooks!