School buses will be on the road next week so all drivers should have a refresher course on when they are required for a school bus.
Simply put, Florida law requires that motorists stop upon approaching any school bus which displays its flashing red lights and has its stop signs extended, but the law goes further. Under Florida Statute 316.172, states that all drivers shall bring their 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to a full stop while the bus is stopped, and the vehicle shall not pass the school bus until the signal has been withdrawn. Leaving before the signal has been withdrawn could result in a ticket.
Do northbound U.S. 19 drivers really have to stop for a southbound U.S. 19 school bus that has its flashing lights on? The simple answer is no. Under Florida law, 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. However, be careful for drivers who don’t know this law as they may stop unexpectedly causing a car accident.
Florida Statute 318.18 outlines the penalties for breaking this law. If a driver fails to stop for a school bus with the flashing lights, the fine for the first offense is $165.00. For the second offense or subsequent offenses within 5 years, the fine is $165 plus license suspension for 90 days to 6 months. However, if you pass the bus on the side that the children exit, the fine is 265.00 and any subsequent offense within 5 years results in a fine of $265.00 plus license suspension for 180 days to one year, plus a mandatory hearing. In addition, for any violation of Section 316.172, 4 points are assessed against the driver’s driver license which could result in license suspension.
So stay alert next week or whenever your area’s schools start up. Watch out for school buses, school children and those drivers who don’t understand the law.
Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of personal injury matters. He is a named partner at the Tampa Bay law firm of Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or complete the form on this page or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.