IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN, SCHOOL IS IN SESSION!
WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES AS A DRIVER WHEN A SCHOOL BUS IS STOPPING?
I am frequently asked by client's what are their duties as a driver when a school bus is stopped on the road. First and foremost, as you are approaching the scene, you should proceed with the utmost caution. You never know when a child is going to either run to or from a school bus that is stopped.
Florida Statute 316.172 lays out the driver's responsibilities when a school bus is stopped on the road and reads as follows:
- 316.172 Traffic to stop for school bus. —
(1) (a) Any person using, operating, or driving a vehicle on or over the roads or highways of this state shall, upon approaching any school bus which displays a stop signal, bring such vehicle to a full stop while the bus is stopped, and the vehicle shall not pass the school bus until the signal has been withdrawn. A person who violates this section commits a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.
(b) Any person using, operating, or driving a vehicle that passes a school bus on the side that children enter and exit when the school bus displays a stop signal commits a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318, and is subject to a mandatory hearing under the provisions of s. 318.19.
(2) The driver of a vehicle upon a divided highway with an unpaved space of at least 5 feet, a raised median, or a physical barrier is not required to stop when traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus which is stopped in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(3) Every school bus shall stop as far to the right of the street as possible and shall display warning lights and stop signals as required by rules of the State Board of Education before discharging or loading passengers. When possible, a school bus shall not stop where the visibility is obscured for a distance of 200 feet either way from the bus.
- Amount of penalties (Section 318.18, FS):
- Section 316.172(1)(a)
1st offense: $165
2nd or subsequent offense (within 5 years): $165 plus license suspension for 90 days to 6 months
- Section 316.172(1)(b)
1st offense: $265
2nd or subsequent offense (within 5 years): $265, license suspension for 180 days to one year, plus a mandatory hearing
- Driver improvement course (Section 322.0261, FS):
- The offender must, in addition to other applicable penalties, attend a DHSMV-approved driver improvement course. If the operator fails to complete the course within 90 days after receiving notice, his or her driver license will be canceled until the course is successfully completed.
- For any violation of Section 316.172, FS, 4 points assessed against driver license (Section 322.27, FS):
|Points:||Within:||License Suspension, up to:|
|12||1 year||30 days|
|18||18 months||90 days|
|24||3 years||1 year|
There are only a few instances in which Florida drivers DO NOT need to stop for a school bus that has its lights flashing. These are as follows:
- If you are on a divided highway and traveling in the opposite direction AND there is at least 5 feet of unpaved space (think at least one full lane);
- If you are on a divided highway and traveling in the opposite direction AND there is a raised median that separates the roadway in which you are traveling from the roadway where a the bus has stopped;
- If you are on a divided highway and traveling in the opposite direction AND there is a physical barrier separating the roadway on which you are traveling from the roadway where a bus stopped.
AT ALL TIMES IF THE DRIVER IS TRAVELING IN THE SAME DIRECTION AS A SCHOOL BUS THAT IS STOPPED AND HAS ITS LIGHTS FLASHING, FLORIDA DRIVERS MUST STOP!!! FURTHERMORE, IF THE HIGHWAY IS NOT SEPARATED AS DESCRIBED ABOVE, FLORIDA DRIVERS MUST STOP!!!
The LAW OFFICES OF Butash Law Group reminds each and every family to be safe and to make the most out of the 2015-16 school year! Shoot for the stars!
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