National School Bus Safety Week begins today, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has teamed up with the departments of Education and Transportation to develop the “Stop on Red, Kids Ahead” campaign. The goal is to encourage motorists to become familiar with the laws and safe practices associated with approaching a school bus.
What Drivers Need to Know:
Florida Motor Vehicles laws require that drivers stop if they approach any school bus that displays its flashing red lights and has its stop signs extended. The only exception is when a vehicle is traveling in the opposite direction of the school bus on a divided highway with an unpaved space of at least five feet or on a divided highway with a raised median or a physical barrier.
Passing illegally on the left hand side carries a $165 fine for the first offense; passing on the right will cost drivers $265.
In Florida, there are more than 8,900 drivers who pass school buses illegally each day. Any of those instances could result in a student’s injury or even death.
“School bus safety is everyone’s responsibility,” said Col. David Brierton, director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “School buses transport Florida’s future and we need to work together to ensure the safety of our children on Florida’s roadways.”
School Bus Safety By the Numbers
More than 1 million
Students who ride school buses in Florida each day
People who suffered injuries in Florida as a result of crashes that involved school buses
Crashes in Florida in 2010 that involved school buses
More than 800
Students who die each year on the nation’s roads during normal school travel hours, according to a National Academy of Sciences study
Minimum number of days that school buses are required to be inspected by a state-certified inspector to ensure the mechanical and safety systems are in proper working order
People who died in Florida as a result of crashes that involved school buses
Minimum number of years of driving experience that Florida public school bus operators must have
Source: “Stop on Red, Kids Ahead” campaign