A bill that would double the penalties against drivers who fail to stop for a stopped school bus is headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ desk for his signature.
Current law punishes drivers who fail to stop for a school bus with a $100 fine. The minimum fine rises to $200 when a driver passes a school bus on the side where children are entering or exiting. Both infractions also carry a potential license suspension for subsequent offense.
If CS/HB 37 is signed into law, the minimum civil penalty for passing a stopped school bus would become $200. The bill would also increase the minimum fine for drivers who pass on the side of a bus where children are entering or exiting to $400. Additionally, subsequent offenses could result in a license suspension of one to two years.
If blessed by the Governor, the law would take effect Jan. 1.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that from 2007 to 2016, 98 school-aged children were killed in school-transportation-related crashes. Roughly 60% of the those were struck by school buses, 2% by vehicles functioning as school buses and 38% by other vehicles involved in the crashes.
The measure would permit traffic traveling in the opposite direction to continua traveling if there is a divided highway that provides a minimum of five feet of separation.