Millions driving by bus stop signs

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If you have ever been confused about just when it is safe to drive past a school bus that is approaching in oncoming traffic, you’re not alone. In an effort to reduce the number of school bus accidents, a one-day study conducted by the Florida Department of Education in 2012 found that over 21,000 drivers illegally kept driving past an approaching school bus while it was stopped with red lights flashing and its stop sign extended.

Over the course of the 6-month school year, this means an incredible 3.7 million Florida drivers could be committing this potentially tragic traffic violation. While it may be because of being late for work or otherwise in a hurry to reach their destination, an alarming number of motorists are simply unsure of when driving by a stopped school bus is permitted. Most of the confusion comes from driving on a roadway with multiple lanes of traffic in both directions, and the type of surface in the center or divider section. If the median section of the roadway is paved, vehicles traveling in BOTH directions must stop for a school bus. If the center median contains any type of barrier, is raised or contains grass, shrubs or trees, vehicles approaching the bus in the oncoming lane may continue with caution.

According to a story reported by Lee County’s NBC-2 News, this is a problem being addressed by concerned parents, as well as the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. The story highlights the efforts of local mom Ann Tomlinson, who monitors her daughter’s school bus stop with a sign and a safety vest every weekday at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to warn drivers they need to stop. The story also notes that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office says Daniels Parkway is one of their high traffic areas and they do patrol for bus stop law violators, who can receive a fine or get points on their license if caught.

But they need the public to call them when there are problem spots.

“We put a very heavy emphasis on that type of enforcement with the whole goal of making the road safer,” said Lt. Larry King, with LCSO.
In March 2013, a private company will partner with the Lee County School District to put cameras on the stop arms on the outside of some school buses in high traffic areas to research how well drivers obey the law.

School buses are this country’s most-used method of mass transportation, and injuries caused by accidents involving school buses can result in severe or even fatal injuries. The Fort Myers personal injury law firm of Goldberg, Racila, D’Alessandro & Noone, LLP reminds you to use extra caution when you see an approaching school bus on our roadways – the safety of our children depend on it.

If you are someone you know has been injured in a school bus accident, call us at 888-461-2919 for a free, no obligation consultation regarding your circumstances, and learn more about our aggressive personal injury legal representation.

photo credit: Zemlinki! via photopin cc