Motorist Safety Near Stopped School Busses

Alachua County Public Works is reminding drivers about school bus safety and that as of January 1, 2021, the penalties for failure to stop for a school bus have doubled. The penalty for failure to stop for a school bus went from a minimum of $100 to $200, and if a second offense is committed in five years, the person’s license will be suspended for up to one year. The penalty for passing a school bus on the side that children enter and exit when the school bus displays a stop signal went from a minimum of $200 to $400, and if a second offense is committed in five years, the person’s license can be suspended up to two years.

School bus safety tips for motorists:

  • 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). 
  • All drivers moving in either direction on a two-way street must stop for a school bus displaying a stop signal and must remain stopped until the road is clear of children and the school bus stop arm is withdrawn. (see diagram, two-lane)
  • On a highway divided by a paved median, all drivers moving in either direction must stop for a school bus displaying a stop signal and must remain stopped until the road is clear of children and the school bus stop arm is withdrawn. (see diagram, multi-lane)
  • The only time traffic approaching an oncoming school bus does not need to stop is if there is a raised barrier such as a concrete divider or at least five feet of unpaved space separating the lanes of traffic. (see diagram, divided highway)
  • On a highway divided by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five feet wide, drivers moving in the opposite direction do not have to stop for the bus (painted lines or pavement markings are not considered barriers). However, these motorists should slow down and watch for students loading or from the bus. (see diagram, divided unloading highway)

For more information, contact Alachua County Public Works Senior Engineer Technician Beth Dodd at 352-316-5609 or bdodd@alachuacounty.us.

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