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Tampa Criminal Defense
Tampa Criminal Defense
Tampa Criminal Defense
Tampa Criminal Defense
Tampa Criminal Defense

Stay Back From the Yellow and Black!

Passing a school bus that is stopped and showing flashing lights and / or stop signs is a punishable offense in Florida. The reasons for the statute is just plain common sense and this week, Manatee County will celebrate School Bus Safety Week.

The safety events being planned will involve a number of activities that will try and highlight the dangers to schoolchildren of drivers who pass a school bus when it is stopped, usually to allow children on or off the bus.

The school bus service performs a vital role right across the United States and transports millions of our children safely to and from school every day. In Manatee County alone, 166 buses are involved, carrying 16,000 children and traveling over 20,000 miles a day. One of the commonest complaints from bus drivers is the number of drivers who are either unaware of the regulations or continue to flout them, passing buses when children are moving around and endangering their lives.

Manatee County’s Bus Safety Week is honoring its school bus drivers with a donut and coffee day. At the same time, the operators will wear yellow and black – the same colors as the buses they drive.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Highway patrol and state transport department personnel will be stepping up operations on and around school buses in order to enforce traffic regulations. Banners and other information will be available during the week, again to emphasize the importance of school bus safety.

Florida drivers are bound by strict regulations about their conduct in and around school buses. At the same time, school bus drivers need to be aware of their responsibility to show stop signals and flashing lights when stopped and to stop as far over to the right as possible when children are alighting or leaving the bus. At least 200 feet of clear visibility needs to be made available on either side of the bus when it has stopped as well.

Drivers who approach a school bus need to be aware that they have to stop if the bus is showing flashing lights or stop signs. Passing on either side of the bus in these circumstances may mean that they are infringing Florida statute 318. Any transgression of this statute is a traffic offense with penalties that involve a fine, possible loss of license, 4 points added to the driver license and a possible mandatory hearing. The penalties are more severe if the school bus is passed on the right hand side, i.e. on the side where school children are getting on or off the bus. Any driver who does do this and is caught could face a mandatory hearing and a $265 fine as well as 4 points on the license. License suspensions will apply if this is the second or third time that you have been convicted.

There are strong indications that the statute is being enforced more frequently in Florida, not just because of safety week. This means that you are more likely to get caught if you do the wrong thing in or around a school bus.

As with all traffic offenses, you have the constitutional right to defend any charge that has been laid against you. Passing a school bus is a moving violation with consequences that will affect you beyond the fine and points that you may experience. For instance, it will cost more in terms of raised insurance rates than any immediate fine. If you have been charged with passing a school bus, whether it is in school bus safety week, or at any other time you may find that it is worth fighting your charge. Contact a Tampa traffic ticket defense attorney to help you with your citation.

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