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School Bus Laws & Penalties In Florida
No matter where in Florida you may live, keeping our children and students safe is a community responsibility. There are many guidelines put in place to ensure that our students arrive to and from school safely every single day - designated crosswalks, safety patrol guards, seat belt laws, and so on. But one law that is absolutely crucial - and yet often gets ignored - is ALWAYS stopping behind a school bus.
The Florida DHSMV has enacted laws that require every single driver to stop when a school bus has its "Stop" sign extended and its red lights flashing. But impatient drivers may think to themselves, "There are no children crossing the street, and I'll drive very slowly so I can stop if I see one. I don't have time to sit and wait for this bus!" Drivers like these should think again: the penalties for passing stopped school bus could literally stop you in your tracks for quite a long time.
The state of Florida pulls no punches when it comes to the safety of its students. They also take into account which side of the bus you chose when violating the law. While neither side is necessarily "safer," the amount of danger to kids sharply increases if you pass the bus on the right-hand side, as this is the side that the children use to step off of the bus, and therefore are more likely to be struck by your car.
- If you pass the bus on the right-hand side, you will pay a minimum fine of $265 for your first offense. A second offense within 5 years of this nature carries an additional $265 fine, as well as the suspension of your license for 180 days to one year and a mandatory court hearing.
- Drivers who pass on the left-hand side are no less culpable for their actions. Your first offense will cost you $165, and a second offense will add another $165 to that total, along with license suspension of 90 days to 6 months.
You will also be required to attend and successfully complete a basic driver improvement course. As of October 2009, the state mandates your enrollment into a Florida state approved traffic school course, and you must complete the course within the time allotted by the court which has dealt with your citation. Submission of successful completion proves to the state that you have reviewed and refreshed your knowledge of Florida traffic laws, including those dealing with school zones and school busses.
If you made a judgment error and find yourself with a school bus citation, there are ways to alleviate some of the hassle that you will inevitable need to deal with. The state mandates that you complete a traffic school course, but they do NOT mandate the method by which you take it. By taking your Florida traffic school online, you can meet your court requirements from any computer, giving you the advantage of working from home.
Typical classroom courses will require your attendance for a block of time at an off-site location. You will be sitting in a room with a group full of people, reading from a Florida driver's handbook and listening to an instructor deliver a lecture that will likely not help you learn any quicker or absorb the information you need to know. But when you opt for an online course, you can study in as many sessions as you need and fit your lessons into your existing schedule. You'll learn through multimedia teaching tools, helping you finish the course faster and remember what the state is asking you to learn.
Although any parent whose child takes the bus to and from school has no doubt cautioned them about the dangers of traffic, we need to remember that children are still young and still learning. With all of the distractions and noises that are abundant on school busses, it's easy to imagine a child stepping off of the bus and not being able to hear oncoming traffic. We are the adults; it is our duty to abide by the laws put in place and give our children a safe environment in which to learn, play, and grow.
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