It’s back to school season in Florida. As school buses and students hit the roads, it is important that all Floridians have a clear understanding of the role they play in keeping students safe during this busy time of year.
Florida has adopted safety laws that apply specifically to school buses, crosswalks and school zones. While drivers who violate these laws can get tickets that carry fines and points, they can also put students’ lives in jeopardy. As a result, all drivers need to know – and follow – these laws, as well as obeying the speeding, distracted driving and other traffic safety laws that apply at all times.
Florida’s School Bus, Crosswalk and School Zone Laws: An Overview
So, what are Florida’s school bus, crosswalk and school zone laws? Here’s an overview of what drivers and parents need to know:
1. Florida’s School Bus Laws
Drivers in Florida are required to stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing and “STOP” sign extended in most cases. This applies to drivers traveling in both directions. The only time when drivers aren’t required to stop is when they are traveling the opposite direction on a divided highway—and the law still requires them to drive with caution in this scenario.
Illegally passing a school bus minimally carries a $200 fine. Drivers who pass on the side of the bus where children enter and exit can be fined a minimum of $400. If a driver hits a student while passing a school bus illegally, the penalties are far more substantial—and the driver can face liability in a personal injury lawsuit as well.
2. Florida’s Crosswalk Laws
In Florida, “[a] vehicle approaching a pedestrian legally crossing the street at an intersection must yield or stop to allow the person walking to cross.” This applies at all crosswalks, regardless of whether they are controlled by signals. As the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) goes on to explain, “If motorists fail to yield, they face a minimum citation of $164 and three points on their driver license. Worse, they can severely injur[e] someone – even taking their life.”
3. Florida’s School Zone Laws
School zones typically have low speed limits – between 15 and 20 mph – and with good reason. Drivers must obey these speed limits (and Florida’s school bus and crosswalk laws) while also diligently watching for students who may be entering the road unexpectedly. Speeding in a school zone carries fines ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars; and, tragically, too often it has other serious consequences as well.
We Fight for Accident Victims and Their Families in Southwest Florida
With offices in Naples and on Marco Island, we represent accident victims and their families in personal injury cases throughout Southwest Florida. If your child has been injured in an accident involving a school bus, crosswalk or school zone, call 239-649-6555 or contact us online for a free consultation today.