Know the Rules and Keep Children Safe on the Road
Florida School Bus Laws
By Linda Frania (Avalon Insurance Group, Inc.)
Do you remember the popular nursey rhyme, “The Wheels on The Bus”? I expect you do and might even be humming it now. The 2018 school year began on August 10th and our most precious cargo, our children, have already started riding on that ‘yellow’ bus, so it’s important to freshen up, learn or re-learn, the State Laws for stopping for school buses.
A school bus uses two of the same light signals as our traffic lights: amber and red. A school bus will turn on flashing amber lights, located at the front and back of the bus, which are visible for 500 feet in sunlight, to warn drivers and pedestrians the bus is about to stop.1 Once the bus has stopped, red flashing lights are activated and a red octagonal “Stop” sign is extended to signal motorists that the bus has stopped and children will be getting on or off the bus.
All motorists are required by law to stop when a school bus has its red lights flashing and “Stop” sign extended. What this means to you, the motorist:
If you are behind a bus, you must stop. If traveling on a two-lane highway, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop. If traveling on a multi-lane highway separated by a paved median, vehicles traveling in both directions must stop. If traveling on a multi-lane highway separated by a raised median (concrete), or at least five feet wide of unpaved space dividing traffic, vehicles behind the bus must stop, those traveling in the opposite direction may proceed with caution. For a visual diagram of these laws go to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle’s website on School Bus Safety.
To help ensure the safety of our children while riding the bus to and from school, the state of Florida has zero tolerance and stiff penalties for drivers who violate school bus laws. The minimum fine for passing a stopped school bus is $165. If you pass on the side where children get on or off the bus, however, the minimum fine is $265. In addition to the fine, you will be required to complete a basic Driver Improvement Course upon conviction and four points on your driver license.2
An active way to help promote school bus safety is to celebrate National School Bus Safety Week3. It’s put on by the National Association for Pupil Transportation and held every year during the third full week in October. This year it’s October 22-26, 2018. Your student can also enter the 2018 National School Bus Safety Poster Contest for next year’s poster theme: My School Bus, The Safest Form of Student Transportation. Download 2018 Poster Contest Rules
Avalon Insurance Group, Inc is not only committed to helping you save money on your insurance, but also to help you stay informed and safe. If you have any questions about your auto or home insurance policies, give us a call at 239-275-3888, our licensed Agents and licensed Customer Service Representatives are ready to help.
1. School Bus Stopping Procedures from another vehicle’s perspective https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9igTmhyFIj8
2. FLHSMV Child Safety, School Bus Safety https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/child-safety/school-bus-safety/
3. National School Bus Safety Week https://www.napt.org/nsbsw
Image from the 2017 National School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest theme - Office of Pupil Transportation/Emergency ManagementMaryland State Department of Education https://goo.gl/images/y14gnE