Did you know that passing a stopped school bus in Florida can lead to severe legal consequences? The Florida School Bus Safety Law is designed to protect our children, ensuring their safety as they travel to and from school. Violating this law can result in hefty fines and points on your license, which can affect your driving record and insurance rates. In today’s article, we’ll discuss the specifics of this law and how it impacts Florida drivers.

Overview of the Florida School Bus Safety Law

The Florida School Bus Safety Law mandates that drivers stop when a school bus displays its stop signals, such as flashing red lights and extended stop arms. This requirement ensures that children can safely board or exit the bus without the risk of being struck by a passing vehicle. Understanding and complying with this law is essential for all drivers in Florida to help prevent accidents and ensure the safety of our youngest commuters.

Key Provisions of the Law

The Florida School Bus Safety Law includes several key provisions that all drivers must follow:

  1. Stopping Requirements: Drivers must stop when approaching a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended. This applies to vehicles approaching from either direction on a two-lane road or a multi-lane road without a median.
  2. Divided Highways: If there is a raised barrier, such as a concrete divider, or an unpaved median at least five feet wide, drivers traveling in the opposite direction of the bus do not have to stop. However, they should proceed with caution and watch for children.
  3. Penalties for Violations: Failure to stop for a school bus can result in a moving violation subject to fines, points on your driver’s license, and the requirement to complete a basic driver improvement course.
  4. Camera Enforcement: Recent updates to the law allow for the use of camera systems on school buses to detect and record vehicles that illegally pass stopped school buses. This measure enhances enforcement and aims to reduce violations.

Penalties for Violating the Law

Violating the Florida School Bus Safety Law carries significant penalties, reflecting the seriousness of this offense. If a driver is caught passing a stopped school bus, here’s what can happen:

  • Fines: The fines vary depending on the nature of the violation. For instance, passing a bus on the side where children enter and exit can result in a minimum fine of $265.
  • Points on License: Drivers will receive points on their driving record, which can lead to higher insurance premiums and potential license suspension for repeat offenses.
  • Driver Improvement Course: Offenders are required to complete a basic driver improvement course, emphasizing the importance of road safety and compliance with traffic laws.
  • Enhanced Penalties: Under the Cameron Mayhew Act, which was enacted in 2017, the penalties are more severe if the violation results in injury or death. This includes higher fines and possible jail time, reflecting the gravity of the consequences.

Receiving a School Bus Ticket

Receiving a school bus ticket in Florida can be a stressful experience. When a driver receives a passing bus ticket, it typically means they have been observed or recorded violating the Florida School Bus Safety Law. The ticket will detail the nature of the violation, the fine amount, and the deadline for responding.

Here are the steps that should be taken when a passing bus ticket is received in the mail:

  • Review the Ticket: Carefully read the information on the ticket to understand the specific violation. This includes the date of the incident, the time and location of where it occured.
  • Determine Your Options: You generally have a few options: pay the fine, attend traffic school to avoid points on your license, or contest the ticket in court.
  • Paying the Fine: If you choose to pay the fine, make sure to do so by the specified deadline to avoid additional penalties. Payments can be made in person, online, or by mail.
  • Contesting the Ticket: If you believe the ticket was issued in error, you have the right to contest it in court. This may involve gathering evidence and possibly hiring a traffic attorney.

Defending Against a School Bus Ticket

Defending against a school bus ticket can be challenging, but it is definitely not impossible. If you decide to contest the ticket, here are some steps to consider:

  1. Gather Evidence: Collect any evidence that supports your case, such as dashcam footage, witness statements, or photographs.
  2. Understand the Law: Familiarize yourself with the specific provisions of the Florida School Bus Safety Law to identify any potential errors in the ticket.
  3. Hire an Attorney: An experienced traffic attorney can help navigate the legal process and provide a strong defense.
  4. Present Your Case: During the court hearing, present your evidence and arguments clearly and confidently. Highlight any discrepancies or mitigating factors that could lead to a dismissal or reduction of the charges.

Impact on Driving Record and Insurance

As we mentioned, a school bus ticket can have significant implications for your driving record and insurance premiums:

  • Points on License: A conviction for passing a stopped school bus typically results in points being added to your driving record. If you accumulate too many points, it can lead to a license suspension.
  • Insurance Premiums: Insurance companies view traffic violations as an indicator of risk. A school bus ticket can lead to higher premiums, as insurers may consider you a higher-risk driver.
  • Long-Term Consequences: Repeated violations can have long-term effects, including difficulty obtaining affordable insurance and potential impacts on employment opportunities, especially if you have a job that involves driving.

Preventing Violations: Tips for Drivers

Preventing violations of the Florida School Bus Safety Law requires vigilance and adherence to traffic rules:

  • Stay Alert: Always be on the lookout for school buses, especially during school hours. Pay attention to their signals and stop when required.
  • Know the Law: Familiarize yourself with the specific requirements of the Florida School Bus Safety Law, including the rules for different types of roadways.
  • Plan Your Route: If possible, plan your route to avoid areas with heavy school bus traffic during peak times.
  • Avoid Distractions: Minimize distractions while driving, such as using a mobile phone, to ensure you can react promptly to a stopped school bus.


The bottom line is that adhering to the Florida School Bus Safety Law is not only a legal obligation but also a moral one. By understanding the law, avoiding violations, and taking proactive steps to ensure compliance, drivers can contribute to the safety of schoolchildren and avoid the severe consequences of receiving a school bus ticket. Let’s all commit to making our roads safer for everyone, especially our youngest and most vulnerable passengers.