TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — This week Representative Thad Altman (R-Indian Harbour Beach) and Representative Emily Slosberg (D–Boca Raton) filed HB 179, authorizing school districts to install cameras on stop signs of school buses to capture whether cars stop when approaching.
It would allow law enforcement agencies to use the footage to enforce traffic laws that increase the safety of the transportation of students.
“I can think of no higher priority than protecting our children and that is exactly what this bill does,” Representative Altman said.
A bus driver in Wisconsin recently attached his own camera to the stop sign on the school bus he drove and caught 30 drivers failing to yield this school year.
One video showed five cars speeding by Lamb's bus — even though Lamb had his stop sign extended, his lights flashing and his horn blaring.
“This legislation holds drivers accountable for ensuring the safety of kids that are getting on and off school buses. Its significance cannot be overstated after last Thursday morning’s tragic accident in Fort Pierce in which 10-year old Yaceny Berenice Rodriguez-Gonzalez, crossing the street to board her school bus, was killed by a hit and run driver that moved behind a school bus that had its long arm stop sign extended and red lights flashing,” Representative Slosberg said.
Florida law states, on a two-way street or highway, all drivers moving in either direction must stop for a stopped school bus that is picking up or dropping off children. Cars must remain stopped until all children are clear of the roadway and the bus signal has been withdrawn.
If the highway is divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five feet wide, drivers do not have to stop if moving in the opposite direction of the bus. Painted lines or pavement markings are not considered to be barriers.
If you are moving in the same direction as the bus, you must always stop—and not go forward until the bus signal has been withdrawn.
The penalty for failure to stop for a school bus goes from a minimum $100 to $200 and if a second offense is committed in 5 years, the person’s license will be suspended for up to 1 year.
The penalty for passing a school bus on the side that children enter and exit when the school bus displays a stop signal goes from a minimum of $200 to $400 and if a second offense is committed in 5 years, the person’s license can be suspended up to 2 years.
School Bus Safety Tips for Motorists from FHSMV:
- Be alert and watch for children especially near schools, bus stops, school buses and in school parking lots.
- Children on bicycles can be unpredictable and can make sudden changes in direction. Be especially careful when children are present in school zones and residential areas.
- Pay extra attention to lower speed limits in school zones.
- Watch for and obey signals from school crossing guards.
- Only drive or park in authorized areas to drop off or pick up children at school.
- Motorists are required to stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing and STOP arms extended. (See the different situations in the diagram below)