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When Do You Have to Stop for a School Bus in Florida?

When a school bus stops to discharge students, you will need to stop if you are heading toward the bus or if you are behind the bus. The flashing lights and stop sign on the side of the bus will indicate that it is time to stop. This rule applies to some divided roads as well, and all lanes of travel must stop and wait for children to leave the bus and for the bus driver to indicate that it is safe to continue driving by turning off the flashing lights and folding in the stop sign. However, if it is a divided highway with a raised barrier or unpaved median, drivers approaching the oncoming bus do not need to stop.

Do Florida School Buses Have Cameras?

Florida is not one of the states that installed cameras recently to be able to track and fine motorists who endanger students by refusing to stop when children are getting off the bus, although this may soon change. The installation of stop arm cameras was adopted by at least 24 other states to try and help children to stay safe when they are getting on and off the bus each day.

Do Florida Buses Have to Have Seat Belts?

Florida law requires that new buses that have been purchased on or after January 1, 2001, have seat belts of federally approved restraints on them. School bus passengers must wear these properly adjusted belts when the bus is operating. Elementary students are to be given the first priority for access to buses that offer seatbelts and are to be given these seats if a bus does not have seat belts in every seat. The law exempts the state, counties, school districts, and bus operators from liability if a passenger refuses to wear their safety belt or if the safety belt is not put on correctly.

What Are the Penalties for School Bus Violations?

As of 2021, Florida law charges a minimum fine of $200 for failure to stop for a school bus (and $400 if passing on the side children embark or disembark while the bus is displaying a stop signal) and repeat offenses within five years can result in license suspension of one to two years, depending on the offense. Handheld wireless device usage in school crossings, school zones, or work zones is also prohibited and has a base fine of $60. This is a state that uses points, so a moving violation offense such as this will assess points against the license of anyone who disobeys these important laws.

Do School Bus Drivers Have to Have a CDL in Florida?

School bus drivers in Florida will need a school bus endorsement to drive students as part of their job. Any bus that is designed to carry 16 or more passengers, including the driver, requires that a driver have an active CDL in good standing as well as the “P” endorsement for passenger. School bus drivers also have to have an “S” endorsement to be able to be hired to drive children to and from school.

How Far Must You Live from School in Florida to Get a Bus?

By law in Florida, school buses must be provided for students who live two or more miles from the school, except sometimes in the case of charter schools. The law is different in some cases for children who are special needs programs like the Exceptional Education Program. These students will have different bus-related and transportation requirements in place to ensure that their unique needs are met when they are being taken to school. Students who live two or more miles from school may be picked up at a common drop off and pick up location as buses cannot always traverse rural roads in safety.

Do Florida School Bus Drivers Have to Stop at Railroad Crossings?

Florida school bus drivers must stop no less than 15 but not more than 50 feet from any railroad crossing that they encounter, unless specifically labeled as exempt. They will need to look both ways and open the doors to listen at the crossing before it is considered safe to continue driving. This law is to prevent the injury or death of school bus drivers and children due to malfunctioning train track crossings and other safety issues related to train tracks.

What Is the 5 and 5 Rule?

This rule helps remind children about bus safety in Florida. You should always remember to stay five giant steps away from the street when waiting for the bus and you should take five giant steps toward the sidewalk when exiting the bus. This small reminder can help kids to stay back away from the bus tires and the street while waiting for the bus and while exiting the bus. Children often do not realize that they are not visible to the bus driver or other traffic when they stand too close to the bus. This rule can help them to remember to stay where they are visible to traffic and the bus driver.

What Is the Most Dangerous Area Around a School Bus?

The most dangerous area around a school bus is the ten feet in front of the bus and the ten feet behind the bus. The area in front of the front bumper and the right wheel is the most dangerous location as children cannot be seen by the driver of the bus in most cases and are not visible to traffic in this location either. At all times, children should stay away from the wheels of the bus and should not stand too close to it to avoid being obscured by the bus from other traffic and from the line of sight of the bus driver.

Are Bus Drivers in Florida Allowed to Discipline Kids?

School bus drivers are instructed to discuss with children the responsibilities of riding the school bus. They are allowed to pull the bus over and talk with children who are being fractious or breaking the school bus safety rules. School bus drivers are trained to front-load expectations, lay out the expectations that they are seeking in a contract, and foster relationships with their student passengers that will create trust. Positive reinforcement and positive interactions are key to happy students when riding the bus.