What Are the Rules in Florida Regarding Stopping for a School Bus?
Gregg Hollander | January 5, 2023 | Florida Law
School is in session, which means that large yellow school buses abound on Boca Raton roadways. Many drivers can easily identify a school bus, but not all drivers know what to do when they encounter one while driving. This confusion can lead to school bus wrecks that threaten the safety of motorists and schoolchildren alike.
Florida law and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) provide directions to drivers on what to do when they come across a school bus. Learning these rules can prevent a needless school bus crash and associated injuries.
Use Caution Any Time Children Are Present
Regardless of whether a school bus is stopped and displaying lights, you should exercise caution any time you see children present. While the school bus driver is supposed to activate the bus’s flashing red lights when loading and unloading children, the driver may have forgotten to do so.
Do not rely solely on the bus’s lights for indications of whether it is safe to proceed around the bus. The presence of children should lead you to slow down and proceed with caution around a stopped bus that is not displaying red lights or a stop sign.
Yellow Lights on a School Bus Urge Caution
When a school bus is preparing to stop to unload or pick up children, it will display flashing yellow lights. At this point, you may still proceed around the school bus but must do so with caution.
If you are following behind a school bus and you see yellow lights, you should prepare to stop and proceed around or past the school bus only if it is safe to do so.
Flashing Red Lights Mean Drivers Must Stop
When a school bus has stopped and is picking children up or dropping them off, it will display flashing red lights. An arm with a stop sign attached to it will also extend from the side of the bus. Most drivers who see these lights and this sign must stop for the bus.
Drivers who are following behind the school bus must always stop for the bus while its red lights are displayed and there are children present. This applies regardless of how many lanes of travel the particular road may have.
Drivers behind a school bus on a multi-lane road may not switch to a different lane and pass the school bus while its red lights are activated.
Drivers traveling in the opposite direction of the school bus generally must also stop if the bus’s red lights are flashing. Drivers must follow this rule if they are approaching a school bus with flashing red lights on a road with two lanes or more. There is no lane in which drivers approaching a school bus in this circumstance can proceed.
The only situation where opposing traffic does not need to stop for a school bus displaying flashing red lights is when the highway is separated by a raised barrier or an unpaved area at least five feet in width. Under this specific circumstance, approaching drivers need not stop for the school bus but should still proceed with caution.
Drivers who are legally required to stop for a school bus with flashing red lights must continue waiting until the red lights are turned off and there are no children present in the area.
Patience and Common Sense Will Prevent Florida School Bus Accidents
While stopping for a school bus may seem like a hassle, especially if you are late for an appointment or for work, stopping is the best way to protect schoolchildren from needless bus accidents and injuries.
Contact Our Bus Accident Law Firm in South Florida
If you’ve been injured in an accident, please contact our experienced personal injury lawyers in Florida at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today. We have three convenient locations in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
We proudly serve Palm Beach County, Broward County, and its surrounding areas:
Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Boca Raton Law Office
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Boca Raton, FL 33433
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Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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West Palm Beach, FL 33401