What Are the Rules in Florida Regarding Stopping for a School Bus?
As the seasons change from summer to fall, a familiar sight has reappeared on Ponte Vedra Beach streets: the school bus. Now that school is back in session, these familiar yellow vehicles will once again be present throughout the week on streets and roads.
Although they carry children to and from school, some drivers view the school bus as a nuisance to be avoided and disregarded. With school starting once again for children, all Florida drivers could benefit from reviewing what traffic laws apply when encountering school buses on the road.
Stopping for Children: What to Know About Ponte Vedra Beach School Buses
Seeing a school bus stopped with its red lights flashing is a sight familiar to many Florida drivers. It is equally as common to see drivers disregard the bus’s lights, pass the bus, and continue along their way. There are, however, situations where the law requires you to stop for a stopped school bus, if not, it could cause a terrible bus accident.
No Requirement to Stop for Flashing Yellow Lights
If a school bus is stopped but is only flashing yellow lights, traffic in both directions may proceed around the school bus without stopping. You should, however, slow down and drive with caution. A school bus with its yellow lights illuminated is very likely to activate its red lights shortly thereafter.
No Requirement to Stop When Traveling in the Opposite Direction
If a school bus is stopped and displaying flashing red lights, traffic traveling in the same direction as the school bus must stop. However, you do not have to stop if all of the following apply:
- You are traveling on a divided highway
- You are traveling in the opposite direction as the school bus
- The highway’s directions of travel are separated by a center median or barrier
If the highway is not separated by a median or barrier, or if it has a center turn lane, then all traffic in both directions must stop for the school bus.
When Traffic Is Required to Stop for a School Bus
Most Florida drivers know that if a school bus stops directly in front of them and displays flashing red lights, then they must stop for that school bus. You must also stop if you are traveling in the same direction as the school bus, even if you are in a different lane of travel than the school bus.
No matter the direction of travel, you must also stop for the school bus if you are traveling on a two-lane roadway. In other words, whether you are traveling in the same direction as the school bus or in the opposite direction, you must stop your car if the bus’s red lights are illuminated.
If you are required to stop for a school bus, you must remain stopped until the school bus has turned off its flashing red lights. Even if you see that children have boarded or exited the bus and are no longer in danger of traffic, you must remain stopped until the bus has turned off its flashing red lights.
Not Knowing the Law Can Be Costly
Failing to obey these laws can lead to expensive fines. If you fail to stop when required, you can be fined at least $200. If you pass a school bus on the right side when you are supposed to stop, the minimum fine is $400. If you commit these offenses multiple times over a five-year period, you could have your driving privileges suspended.
Florida School Bus Laws Exist for Safety
Beyond the financial and licensure costs, disobeying school bus laws puts children at risk. As inconvenient as it may be at times to have to stop, doing so helps ensure that children can safely go to and from school without being injured in an accident.
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Jacksonville, FL 32256
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