School buses are back on Florida roads so a refresher on when to stop for a school bus seems appropriate.
Most Florida roads fall into one of three categories: (1) Two-Lane Road; (2) Multi-Lane Road; or Divided Road. Each category has its separate rule as to when to stop for a school bus. Here they are:
1. Two-Lane Road – When approaching a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing and STOP arms extended, all drivers moving in either direction on a two-way street must stop for a school bus displaying a stop signal, and must remain stopped until the road is clear of children AND the school bus stop arm is withdrawn.
2. Multi-Lane Road – On a roadway divided by a paved median or separated by turning lanes, all drivers moving in either direction must stop for a school bus displaying a stop signal, and must remain stopped until the road is clear of children AND the school bus stop arm is withdrawn.
3. Divided Roadway – The law on when to stop for a school bus on a divided roadway is that if the roadway is divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median (grassy median) at least 5 feet wide, drivers moving in the opposite direction do not have to stop for the bus. However, these motorists should slow down and watch for students loading and unloading from the bus. Please note that painted lines or pavement markings are not considered barriers.
For a good diagram that illiterates these different scenarios on when to stop for a school bus, go to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ discussion on this subject.
Not knowing when to stop for a school bus can be costly. The penalties for passing stopped school bus include:
- Moving violation subject to citation;
- Requirement to complete a basic Driver Improvement Course upon conviction;
- Four points on your driver license; and
- Minimum fine of $165, if you pass on the side where children enter and exit, you will receive a minimum fine of $265.
Last year, the penalties were increased for drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus which resulted in the injury or death of another person. Penalties for passing a stopped school bus that causes or results in the serious bodily injury or the death of another person include:
- Serving 120 community service hours in a trauma center or hospital;
- Participating in a victim’s impact panel session, or if such a panel does not exist, attending a DHSMV approved driver improvement course;
- Six points on your driver license;
- Suspension of license for a minimum of one year; and
- $1,500 fine.
For your wallet and for the safety of the children, it is important that you know when to stop for a school bus. Be safe and watch out for those who aren’t!
Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in school bus accidents, 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.