New Florida Law Imposes Fines on Drivers Who Illegally Pass School Buses
Under Florida law, drivers are not allowed to pass a school bus that is stopped and has its sign extended and its flashing red lights activated. Unfortunately, an alarming number of drivers ignore these rules, putting innocent children at risk of serious injury and even death. This summer, in an effort to address this alarming trend, Florida lawmakers passed new legislation that will allow school districts in Florida to take photographs of drivers who illegally pass school buses. Drivers found in violation of this law will face a $225 fine.
Installing Cameras on School Buses
After a recent survey of school bus drivers, the Florida Department of Education revealed that on a single day, school buses in Florida are illegally passed an estimated 7,867 times. Besides being illegal, this type of recklessness can have deadly consequences for children who are embarking or disembarking at the time. To help prevent such accidents, Florida lawmakers passed Senate Bill 766, which gives school districts permission to contract with private companies to install cameras on school buses across the state.
Photographing Illegal Passing
The new cameras will be able to capture a recorded video, as well as two still images of drivers who illegally pass school buses. As a part of the program, school districts are also required to conduct 30 day public awareness campaigns, which includes installing high visibility signage indicating that cameras will be used to document infractions.
Tips for Driving Near School Buses
Although the new law will hopefully reduce the number of pedestrian accidents involving children and school buses, there are still some steps that drivers can take to help reduce their chances of causing such an accident. Drivers are, for instance, encouraged to remain alert and keep an eye out for children, especially near schools, bus stops, parking lots, and school buses themselves. It’s also a good idea to lower one’s speeds when driving in these areas.
Of course, all Florida drivers must come to a stop when approaching school buses that are stopped and have their red flashing lights and stop signs engaged. Drivers must remain stopped until the roadway is clear of children and the bus has lowered the stop sign. This is true not only on two way streets (for drivers heading in both directions), but also on highways divided by paved medians. In fact, the only time this isn’t required for drivers approaching an oncoming school bus is when there is a raised barrier, like a concrete divider, or at least five feet of unpaved space, that separates the lanes of traffic. Failing to comply with these rules not only comes with fines, but also endangers the children embarking or disembarking on that bus.
Protect Your Right to Compensation
To speak with an experienced Florida auto accident lawyer about seeking compensation for your child’s own school bus accident, please call Boone & Davis at 954-566-9919. You can also set up a free initial consultation by filling out one of our brief online contact forms.