In Florida, the new school year is in full swing and school buses are a common sight on the roadways all hours of the day. With that, children are getting on and off the bus and passenger vehicles, trucks and motorcycles must be patient when they see the retractable stop sign attached to school buses extended and the flashing lights. Unfortunately, many drivers are impatient and disregard the law for safety. This can cause accidents with children suffering injuries and even losing their lives. Being aware of this problem, potential legal changes and how to keep kids safe is imperative. If an accident does occur, it is also important to know the available steps to help them.
Proposed law will install cameras on school bus stop signs
Parents rely on the school bus system to get their kids to and from school safely. For working families, this is an integral part of their daily lives. Worrying about whether drivers will be distracted, under the influence, reckless or drowsy is unavoidable. Legislators are cognizant of the possible dangers and with a recently proposed law, seek to mitigate the risk and hold drivers accountable for violations. The law is bipartisan. With it, cameras will be installed on the stop sign attached to school buses. It will record whether vehicles approaching the school bus stopped or not. Using that footage, law enforcement would then be able to cite drivers who were in violation of the law. There has been previous success with this template in other states.
In Wisconsin, a driver placed a personal camera on the sign. Thirty drivers were captured violating the yield law. Five sped by even with the stop sign extended. Anecdotally, a Florida 10-year-old lost her life when she was crossing the street to get on her bus. The driver ignored the stop sign and fled the scene after the accident. The current law requires that drivers stop for a school bus with its stop sign out no matter the direction they are coming from. The state doubled the penalty for failing to stop for a school bus and it is now $200. For drivers who are caught a second time within five years of the first, they will have a driver license suspension for up to a year. Passing a school bus with its sign extended will result in a $400 fine. If it happens again within five years, the suspension can be for up to two years. Still, that will not prevent many from behaving in a way that places others – especially vulnerable children and teens – in jeopardy.
Helping children after a school bus accident may require experienced guidance
When there is an accident and a child suffers personal injury, it is imperative to be aware of the available steps to help them recover. Having assistance with pursuing justice and covering for all that was lost personally, financially and emotionally while preparing for a potentially very different future is key. Consulting with those who understand these cases, know how to gather evidence and move forward is a useful strategy from the outset.