Armies of yellow buses will soon be hitting the road as schools reopen in South Florida.
Drivers should already be on the lookout for buses in Monroe County because school has reopened in the Florida Keys. Public school will resume Aug. 16 in Broward County and Aug. 17 in Miami-Dade.
The rules of the road
When school buses stop to pick up or drop off kids, cars in other lanes need to stop as well.
But does every driver need to stop?
Here’s what Florida law says:
In Florida, when school buses stop with flashing red lights and stop signs extended, drivers on both sides of the road need to stop, too.
The only exception to the rule?
When there’s a median five feet or more separating traffic, cars heading in the opposite direction don’t need to stop.
As of last year, if a driver is caught passing a bus illegally, police can write a ticket that will cost $100 to $200 on the first offense. For a second offense within five years, a driver’s license could be suspended for up to a year, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
The penalties can double if a driver passes a school bus on the side where children enter and exit the bus, with fines for first offenses between $200 and $400 and license suspension going for up to two years on the second offense in five years.
On just one day in 2019, almost 1,000 drivers illegally passed stopped buses in Miami-Dade County, according to a Florida Department of Education survey. Additionally, 2,700 school buses were involved in crashes in Florida last year.
Here’s an interactive map that lets you explore school bus crash data in Florida. If you hover over a region, you can see data regarding how many buses were involved in crashes year by year specific to the county there.