Back to School: Florida School Bus Laws and Pedestrian Safety Tips
Florida School Bus Laws, Pedestrian Safety, and Other Ways to Stay Safe This New School Year
Accidental pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related death in the United States for children ages 5 to 19. Teenagers are now at the greatest risk and have a death rate twice that of younger children, accounting for half of all child pedestrian deaths.
Now that it’s back to school time, there will be many more pedestrians to watch for, school buses to yield to, and children walking or waiting for buses. This is a great time to remind ourselves of some pedestrian safety tips and Florida school bus laws!
Stay Off Your Phone
Handheld Electronic Devices – Stress to your children that they should not be on any device while walking to school or a bus stop. We’ve continued to see an increase in injuries due to inattentive pedestrians.
The Wireless Communications While Driving Law, effective October 1, 2019 prohibits the use of a wireless communications device in a handheld manner while driving in a designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone area. Violators will face a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a moving violation, that includes a base $60 fine, not including court costs or other fees, and will have 3 points assessed against the driver’s license.
Florida School Bus Traffic Laws
As of January 1, 2021, the penalties for failure to stop for a school bus doubled. The penalty for failure to stop for a school bus is a minimum $100 – $200 fine. If a second offense is committed within the subsequent five years, the driver’s license will be suspended for up to one year. The penalty for passing a school bus on the side that children enter and exit when the school bus displays a stop signal is a minimum of $200 – $400. If a second offense is committed within the subsequent five years, the driver’s license can be suspended for up to two years.
When to Stop for a School Bus in Florida
- If you are moving in the same direction as the school bus, then you must always stop. You also need to remain stopped until all stop signals are withdrawn – regardless of the type of roadway you are on.
- If you are on a non-divided roadway when you are moving in the opposite direction of the bus, you must stop for a bus that is loading or unloading children.
- If you are on a divided highway with a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five feet wide and you are moving in the opposite direction of the bus, you do not have to stop for a stopped school bus, even if the lights are flashing.
- If you are on a divided highway with no barrier and/or multi-lane access and you are moving in the opposite direction of the bus, you must still stop and remain stopped until all stop signals are withdrawn, regardless of the type of roadway you are on.
School Bus Safety Tips for Parents
- Parents and children should wait in a safe place away from the road and never sit on the roadway or curb while waiting for the bus.
- Make sure your children know their bus driver’s name and bus number.
- Stress the importance of never getting into a different vehicle other than the bus they are assigned to. Remind them that, if a stranger approaches them, they should quickly return home to inform an adult.
- Children should look both ways before crossing the street: look left, right, and left again. Also, make sure the bus driver can see them as they cross the street.
Make sure that you and your children are prepared and aware during their journey to and from school. We hope that everyone has a safe and fun school year!
Florida Department of Education – School Transportation Information