The end of summer is here and schools are ramping up for the start of a
Over 4,200 schools make up the approximately 76 public school districts
in Florida. This includes Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Broward County Public
Schools, which, in terms of enrollment, are the first and second largest
school districts in the state (and in the top ten nationwide). With a
state-wide enrollment hovering around 2.7 million students in grades Pre-K
through 12, there are a lot of children that have to be transported to
and from school five days a week.
Not blocking crosswalks
Not assuming that kids are paying attention
Envisioning a ten-foot zone around any stopped bus encountered and staying
out of that space.
Back to school time means there are more buses on the road – and
more kids near it. Drivers can increase safety by:
- Not speeding in school zones
- Not passing buses that are loading or unloading children
Drivers should always pay attention to pedestrians, but being particularly
aware of students entering and exiting buses, as well as walking across
or along the street, is something every motorist can do. At the beginning
and end of the school day, and when passing through school zones, simple
steps such as not speeding or not driving while distracted can greatly
Under state law, school zones may establish a speed limit as low as 15 miles per hour
during the times in which students are either arriving for or leaving
from school. Exceeding the posted limit can result in a steep fine as
well as points added to the driver’s record.
There are also consequences for passing a school bus when it has stopped
to drop off or pick up passengers.
Florida law says that the driver of a vehicle “shall, upon approaching any school
bus which displays a stop signal, bring such vehicle to a full stop while
the bus is stopped, and the vehicle shall not pass the school bus until
the signal has been withdrawn.” The only time that drivers can legally
pass a stopped school bus that has its lights flashing and its stop signs
extended is when there is a five-foot barrier or unpaved median between
the side of the road they are on and the side of the road the bus is on.
Passing a school bus is not only illegal, it’s dangerous. The bus
needs more room to maneuver than a passenger vehicle requires, and the
children who are getting on and off need more room to safely cross the
street or the shoulder. When entering a crosswalk area, drive slowly and
be prepared to stop. Stop far enough back that you don’t block the
crosswalk with your car and so that other drivers in other lanes can see
the child in time to stop. Don’t assume that any child knows how
to safely cross the street or won’t do so unsafely if in a hurry.
Younger children may lack the capacity to determine how fast cars are
moving or to understand traffic laws, while older children may be distracted
by mobile devices or earbuds/headphones. One of the easiest changes you
can make is to give yourself more travel time if you are driving during
peak school transportation hours.
If you have school-age children at home, make a discussion about bus and
pedestrian safety part of their back-to-school routine. Caution them not
to act carelessly near traffic, to line up away from the street, and to
wait for a signal from the bus driver before crossing the road or stepping
onto the shoulder.
We Can Help
If you or someone you love has been injured by a careless or negligent
motorist, you need an experienced attorney to effectively represent your
interests. As one of South Florida's most respected and oldest law
firms, Stabinski & Funt, P.A. has helped many people sort out their
legal rights, responsibilities, and remedies. For 45 years, we have been
the trusted advocates for countless traffic collision victims, and we
are highly experienced in handling a wide range of auto and truck accident
cases. We also work on a contingency basis, which means that if there
is no recovery, there is no fee or cost to you. If you wish to learn more
about how our firm can be of assistance to you, we encourage you to contact
us for a free consultation by calling 305-964-8644 or
filling out a case evaluation form.