The news of school bus-related accidents is far too common in Florida. On the 28th of March, a 15-year-old Royal Palm Beach student was struck by a car while at the bus stop This came just two days after another student was struck and killed in a similar situation.
News stories like these highlight the importance of reviewing school bus safety and laws. Situations like this happen across the state and are devastating to families and communities.
Family members of students who are struck and killed while getting on or off the bus or waiting at school bus stops have rights. If you find yourself in this situation, reach out to our team at Fetterman & Associates.
Florida Laws Regarding School Bus Safety
In Florida, there are several laws to help prevent accidents like the ones above and serious penalties for those caught not obeying the law.
Starting on January 1, 2021, a law was created that doubled the penalties for motorists who did not stop for a school bus. The penalty before this date was $100, with it being $200 now. For a second offense within five years of the first, the offender’s license is suspended for up to one year.
The penalty for passing a school bus on the side where children get on and off while the stop signal is flashing went from a minimum of $200 to a minimum of $400. For a second offense within a five-year period of the first, the offender’s license can be suspended for up to two years.
On October 1, 2019, the Wireless Communications While Driving Law went into effect, which prohibited the use of wireless communication devices in a handheld manner while driving through a school crossing, active work zone area, or school zone. Any violators of this law have committed a noncriminal traffic infraction. It is punishable as a moving violation with a base fine of $60. This doesn’t include the court costs or other related fees. Three points are also assessed to the driver’s license of the offender.
Times Motorists Are Required to Stop for a School Bus
There are situations when you are required, by law, to stop for a school bus.
If you are traveling the same direction as a school bus, you are always required to stop. You must also remain stopped until all the stop signs are turned off or withdrawn. No matter what type of road you are traveling on, this is the case.
If you are on a rod that is not divided and moving opposite to the school bus, you have to stop when the bus loads or unloads children.
For vehicles driving on a divided highway that has an unpaved median or raised barrier a minimum of five feet wide and traveling the opposite direction of a bus, you are not required to stop for a bus that is stopped. This is true even if the lights are on and flashing.
If you are traveling on a divided highway that does not have a barrier or has multi-lane access, while moving opposite the bus, you must stop and stay stopped until all signs and lights are off. This is true no matter what type of roadway you are traveling on.
Steps to Take if Your Child Is Injured While Getting On or Off a School Bus in Florida
If your child is injured while on a school bus or while loading or unloading, you can take legal action. If this happens, some steps to take include:
- Take your child for a medical evaluation. You need to have your child checked and any injuries treated. Also, medical treatment documents the injuries and incidents.
- Get advice from our legal team. Every accident is unique. Sometimes, the bus driver is at fault for a claim; however, if a motorist strikes your child, they would be considered at fault. Our injury attorney can determine who is at fault and help you recover compensation from the responsible party.
- Take photos or videos. If a child is injured, you should make sure that you take photos or videos of their injuries. This will help prove it happened and how severe it was.
You must take the right steps to document the situation and help ensure you can recover the compensation deserved.
Protect Your Rights for Compensation After a School Bus Accident in Florida
You must use the tips and advice here to protect your rights for compensation after a school bus accident. Our team at Fetterman & Associates is here to help and provide you with the legal advice and guidance you need. You can recover compensation, and the best way to do this is by letting us help. If you have questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact us today. We are ready to help.