Have you ever wondered what happens if you illegally pass a stopped school bus in Miami-Dade County? The repercussions are far more severe than you might expect. The Florida School Bus Safety Law is strictly enforced here to safeguard children on their way to and from school. Violating this law can lead to hefty fines, points on your driving record, and higher insurance premiums. In the following article, we’ll explain the consequences of receiving a school bus ticket in the mail and how you can respond to avoid further penalties.

Importance of the Florida School Bus Safety Law

The Florida School Bus Safety Law is essential for protecting the safety and well-being of schoolchildren. In Miami-Dade County, the enforcement of this law is particularly stringent due to the high traffic volume and the large number of school buses operating in the area. The law mandates that drivers must stop for school buses that are picking up or dropping off children, ensuring that students can safely cross the road without the risk of being struck by a vehicle.

Legal Requirements for Drivers in Miami-Dade

Drivers in Miami-Dade County must follow specific legal requirements when encountering a stopped school bus. Here’s what they entail:

  1. Stopping for School Buses: When a school bus is stopped with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended, all vehicles approaching from either direction must come to a complete stop.
  2. Divided Highways: On highways separated by a raised barrier or an unpaved median at least five feet wide, only vehicles on the same side as the bus are required to stop. Those traveling in the opposite direction do not need to stop, but should remain cautious and vigilant for children.
  3. Two-Lane Roads: On two-lane roads, all traffic in both directions must stop for a school bus that is loading or unloading children.
  4. Multi-Lane Roads without a Median: Similar to two-lane roads, all lanes of traffic must stop for a school bus displaying its stop signals. This includes roads with multiple lanes but no physical divider.

Consequences of Illegally Passing a Stopped School Bus

Illegally passing a stopped school bus in Miami-Dade County can result in severe legal and financial consequences:

  • Fines: The fines for passing a stopped school bus are substantial. For a first-time offense, the minimum fine is typically around $265. Repeat offenses can lead to significantly higher fines, reflecting the seriousness of the violation.
  • Points on Your Driving Record: A conviction for passing a stopped school bus will result in points being added to your driving record. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension and higher insurance premiums, impacting your ability to drive and increasing your costs.
  • Driver Improvement Course: Offenders may be required to attend a basic driver improvement course. This course focuses on safe driving practices and the importance of adhering to traffic laws, aiming to educate drivers and reduce future violations.
  • Enhanced Penalties: Under the Cameron Mayhew Act, the penalties for passing a stopped school bus are more severe if the violation results in injury or death. This can include higher fines and possible jail time, emphasizing the critical nature of obeying school bus safety laws.

What to Do After Receiving a School Bus Ticket

Receiving a school bus ticket in Miami-Dade County can be a stressful experience, but knowing the proper steps to take can help you navigate the situation effectively:

  1. Review the Ticket: Carefully read all the details on the ticket, including the date, time, location of the violation, and the specific offense you are being charged with.
  2. Understand Your Options: Typically, you have three options: pay the fine, attend a driver improvement course to mitigate points on your record, or contest the ticket in court.
  3. Paying the Fine: If you choose to pay the fine, ensure you do so by the deadline specified on the ticket to avoid additional penalties. Payment can often be made online, by mail, or in person at the county clerk’s office.
  4. Attending Traffic School: In some cases, you may be eligible to attend a traffic school, which can help reduce the points added to your driving record.
  5. Contesting the Ticket: If you believe the ticket was issued in error, you have the right to contest it in court. This involves notifying the court of your intention to fight the ticket and preparing your defense.

Legal Defenses Against a School Bus Ticket

Contesting a school bus ticket can be challenging, but it’s not impossible if you hire a lawyer. Here are some common defenses that may be applicable:

  • Lack of Proper Signaling: You can argue that the school bus did not have its red lights flashing or stop arm extended at the time of the alleged violation.
  • Obstruction: If an obstruction (such as another vehicle) blocked your view of the school bus, you might argue that you couldn’t see the bus or its signals.
  • Incorrect Ticket Information: Mistakes on the ticket, such as incorrect time, date, or location, can sometimes lead to the dismissal of the ticket.
  • Witness Testimony: Having a witness who can corroborate your version of events can strengthen your defense.

Long-Term Impact on Your Driving Record and Insurance

A school bus ticket can have several long-term consequences:

  • Points on License: A conviction typically results in points being added to your driving record. When too many points are accumulated, it generally leads to a license suspension.
  • Increased Insurance Premiums: Insurance companies view traffic violations as a sign of risky driving behavior. As a result, a school bus ticket can cause your insurance premiums to rise.
  • Driving Record: Having traffic violations on your record can affect your ability to secure certain jobs, especially those that require driving.


The key takeaway here is that understanding and adhering to the Florida School Bus Safety Law is essential for all drivers in Miami-Dade County. By following the legal requirements and being vigilant around school buses, you can help ensure the safety of schoolchildren and avoid the severe consequences of receiving a school bus ticket. Stay informed, drive cautiously, and contribute to a safer community for everyone.