Florida Increases Penalties for Passing Stopped School Buses but is it Enough?

Florida’s School Bus Safety bill, which was passed by the House and Senate earlier this year, has been signed by Gov. Rick Scott. It imposes enhanced penalties on drivers who do not stop for a school bus and cause serious bodily harm or death to a person. It creates the Cameron Mayhew Act, named after a 16-year-old boy who was struck and killed by a car while crossing the road to board his bus on June 1, 2016. The driver of the car received a six-month license suspension and a $1,000 fine.

Children getting off a school bus, with the additional danger of construction work immediately adjacent.  Image Copyright 2014, Eddie Wren. All rights reserved.

Starting July 1, drivers who pass a stopped school bus with its warning signals on and cause “serious bodily harm or death” to another person will be fined $1,500 and have their license suspended for one year. If a driver passes a stopped school bus but does not harm or kill someone, they will have four points added to their license; if they severely injure or kill someone, that will be raised to six points…

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, over 2,400 people were ticketed in 2016 for ignoring a school bus’ red lights or stop arm….

Read the full article, from School Transportation News.

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Given that there can be few things in driving that are more recklessly dangerous than passing a school bus that has stopped specifically to pick up or drop off school-aged children, why is there no mandatory, minimum prison sentence included in this law in respect of drivers who kill or seriously injure a child through such a deadly act of stupidity?

Eddie Wren, CEO & Chief InstructorAdvanced Drivers of North America