Now that the new school year has begun, there is one subject that we have not discussed-school buses. These large transportation machines are carrying our little ones to and from school each day.
Because of the large population of Polk County, we have many students utilizing the bus system. Yes, I know that often times they seem to be a burden to motorists, but buses are necessary. To protect these children from other traffic, there are regulations that you must follow when approaching school buses. Saying, “I didn’t see,” will not fly with law enforcement since school buses are huge and yellow.
Florida law requires that all motorists approaching a school bus with the stop lights and bar extended must come to a complete stop.
You cannot pass the bus while it is legally stopped with these lights activated. There is only one exception to the rule and that is , “...upon a divided highway with an unpaved space of at least five (5) feet, a raised median, or a physical barrier is not required to stop when traveling in the opposite direction of the school bus which is stopped … ”
Watch out for our kids. Drive safely and plan accordingly knowing that school is in session.
Joe Hall is the chief of the Bartow Police Department.