Florida Drivers Passing a School Bus Could Start Seeing Huge Fines

iStock_000008468187SmallAccording to Florida police, thousands of drivers will make a very selfish decision today, which will put thousands of children in direct danger. Passing a school bus that is stopped and letting out children is a reckless act that could have deadly consequences.

The fact that as many as 2 million drivers commit this violation every year in Florida proves either total ignorance of the law or complete disregard, neither of which is an acceptable answer.

Ask any school bus driver and they won’t hesitate to tell you a number of stories in which drivers passed the school bus and came within a few feet of children trying to get home to their families.

Florida Law Regarding Passing a School Bus

Florida law requires motorists to stop when a school bus activates its flashing lights and extends its stop sign. However, too many drivers either don’t understand the law and think that maybe it is simply a suggestion, or they ignore the law altogether.

The only exceptions to this law are if the driver approaches from the opposite direction and there is either an unpaved space of more than five feet between the two lanes or if there is a raised barrier.

Currently, drivers can be fined up to $500 in addition to other traffic citations and points deducted from their license. Just in this year, police say they have issued 132 citations for passing a school bus illegally.

Florida Senator David Simmons is currently pushing a bill that would significantly raise the penalties associated with passing a school bus, including doubling the fine and adding a reckless driving charge. Also, his proposed bill could include as much as six months’ jail time for repeat offenders. He feels that this kind of violation should be more harshly enforced since drivers are placing young children in extreme danger with their selfishness or ignorance.

Last year, a young girl was nearly killed in the same kind of pedestrian accident that the law is trying to prevent. For the sake of the kids, please stop when you approach a school bus with its stop sign and lights activated.

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