School buses take children safely to and from school, but these large vehicles are often slower-moving and make frequent stops, which means other users of the road have to use additional caution around these vehicles.
The Dangers of School Buses
School buses face a few additional dangers. If a school bus collides with a car, the students inside can be seriously injured. Another danger occurs when students are getting on and off the bus. Traffic in other lanes can injure a student who is attempting to cross the street. For this reason, there are added rules and high penalties for breaking them when it comes to school buses.
The penalties for not stopping for a school bus are high in Florida, starting at $200 for a first offence. For a second offence, a one-year license suspension is issued. Drivers who pass a school bus on the side where the bus displays a stop sign (the side where students enter and exit the bus) face minimum fines of $400 for a first offence can lose their license for up to two years for a second offence.
Under Florida rules, you must also use hands-free phones in school zones. Because children may not look around when exiting and entering a school bus, however, it is safer to not have any distractions, not even hands-free devices, and to slow down and drive defensively.
The official rules for driving around school buses require you to come to a full stop if you’re on a two-lane highway and a school bus stops to let children enter or exit. You must stop, regardless of which direction you’re traveling.
On a multi-lane paved road, you must stop in the same situation, regardless of which direction you’re traveling. If you’re on a highway divided by a physical median and you see a school bus stopped across the median (so the bus is traveling in the opposite direction you are), you don’t have to come to a full stop. However, the rules require you to drive with added caution.
Unsafe Drivers in School Zones
While there are plenty of rules in place to keep children safe while they use the school bus, each year children are injured and even killed when traveling to and from school. Some motorists do not obey the rules of the road and fail to watch for students. In some cases, a collision or incident on board a school bus can lead to serious injury for students.
If your child has sustained a traumatic brain injury, lacerations, fractures, back injury, or any serious injury because of a school bus, you deserve answers and help. Under Florida law, if a driver or other entity was negligent and their negligence caused your child’s injuries, you may have a legal claim. Seeking compensation through such a claim can help you pay for quality medical care and support for your child.
If your child has been injured, do not hesitate to contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation. Our compassionate team has more than 60 years of combined experience and we’re proud to serve the entire South Florida area.