Every state has traffic laws to keep children safe while they’re traveling to and from school. In Florida, one of the ordinances drivers have to follow is the School Bus Stop Law. It helps to ensure traffic stops when children are getting on and off the bus.
But many aren't aware of the rules and end up illegally passing stopped buses. This puts students at a higher risk and can result in a pricy ticket. To keep kids safe on the road and avoid a ticket, here's all you need to know about the Florida School Bus Stop Law.
What is the Florida School Bus Stop Law?
The Florida School Bus Stop Law is designed to keep children safe as they’re getting on and off the bus. It requires you to stop when a bus extends its stop sign and turns on its flashing red lights. This law applies to drivers traveling in both directions on two-lane and multi-lane highways.
The only exception is if you’re driving in the opposite direction of a school bus on a divided highway. You don’t have to stop and can proceed with caution if there’s a raised barrier or an unpaved median of five feet or more.
What Are the Penalties of the Florida School Bus Stop Law?
The penalty for violating the law depends on which side of the bus you passed and whether or not this is your first offense.
Drivers who pass the bus on the right side where children get on and off receive heftier fines because it’s more dangerous. You’ll be subject to a penalty of at least $400 for a first offense. You’ll also be required to complete a driver improvement course and may get four points on your driver’s license. If you re-offend within five years, your license will be suspended for up to two years.
Passing a school bus on the left side is still risky because students could dart out into the road, so it also comes with penalties:
A minimum fine of $200
Points on your license
If you break this law again within five years, your license could be suspended for up to one year.
What to Do if You Get a School Bus Citation
If you passed the bus on the side where children exit and enter, you may be required to appear in court on the date listed on your citation. Hearings are mandatory, and failing to show up or send a lawyer in your place could result in harsher punishment such as license suspension.
At the hearing, you’ll find out what penalties you face. For example, you may be required to complete a state-approved driver improvement course by a certain date. Florida allows drivers to attend traffic school in person or online, so you’ll be able to choose how you complete your class.
To help busy drivers meet their traffic school obligations, I Drive Safely offers a flexible online course. It’s completely self-paced, so it’s easy to fit into your busy schedule. The lessons are engaging, informative, and will help you remember the rules of the road so you don’t get another ticket.
Further, they'll help you to ensure you're driving carefully and obeying traffic laws, especially around school buses. Children may not watch where they’re going or look for cars before crossing the road. Following the Florida School Bus Stop Law and being extra vigilant in school zones can help keep kids safe on their way to class.
Enroll in our online state-approved traffic school!