Florida is Back to School – Tips for Avoiding School Bus Accidents


Back to school is an exciting time for parents and for kids. However, we should also take precautions to avoid mishaps and accidents with school buses and people waiting at school bus stops.

Recently, we heard the news of a major school bus accident in DAVIE, Florida which involved multiple injuries. Florida Department of Education has issued a set of regulations and guidelines for School Transportation that school buses should follow. Per the data from NHTSA from 2007 to 2016, there were 281 school-age children who died in school-transportation-related crashes: 58 were occupants of school transportation vehicles, 116 were occupants of other vehicles, 98 were pedestrians, 8 were pedal cyclists, and 1 other a non-occupant.

From 2012 to 2015, there has been a 16 percent increase in school bus-related accidents throughout Florida. Just in the year 2015 alone, there were a reported 2,698 school bus accidents in Florida. The highest rates of accidents occurred in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.

Here are some precautions (suggested by NHTSA) that we should take while getting on the school bus:

 

  • Make sure you are at the bus stop 5 mins before the bus is scheduled to arrive.

  • Stand at least 6 feet away from the curb while the bus approaches.

  • Before stepping in, make sure the bus is fully stopped, the doors are wide open, and the driver says that it’s ok to step in.

  • If you have to cross the road (street), walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road at least 10 feet ahead of the bus before you cross, make sure that the bus driver can see you.

  • Use the handrails to avoid falls. When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing with drawstrings, and book bags with straps don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.

  • Avoid walking behind the bus.

  • If you dropped something near the bus, make sure you let the bus driver know before you pick it up.

 

Every year, the Florida Department of Education conducts a survey on the number of cars that illegally pass school buses, and each year, the numbers rank in the thousands.

As a normal vehicle driver, we should take precautions on the road, especially near schools and bus stops. According to a 2015 report by the Federal Highway Administration, nearly 44 children in the United States are involved in pedestrian collisions with motor vehicles each day. A significant number of these children were hit while walking to or from school.

Penalties for passing stopped school bus include:

  • Moving violation subject to citation;

  • Requirement to complete a basic Driver Improvement Course upon conviction;

  • Four points on your driver license; and

  • Minimum fine of $165, if you pass on the side where children enter and exit, you will receive a minimum fine of $265.

 

Franco Law Group specializes in Personal Injury law. If an accident is not your fault, please call us to explore your legal options. We offer a free initial consultation for personal injury cases subject to State of Florida law. Contact Franco Law Group at (813) 873-0180.

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Christine Franco

About the Author

Owner of the Tampa firm of Franco Law Group PA, Ms. Franco received her B.A. from The University of South Florida and her J.D. from Stetson College of Law in 1995. Ms. Franco practices primarily in the fields of personal injury, social security disability and has previously acted as the case law monitor for the News & 440 Report, providing updated case law summaries, specifically in the area of workers compensation, for five years. She was also editor of the News & 440 Report, and served for the Florida Bar Workers’ Compensation Section as Secretary of the Executive Council.