Troopers remind SWFL drivers to stop for school buses

Published: Updated:
FILE: School bus

SOUTH FORT MYERS, Fla. — A surprisingly high amount of drivers continue to violate the state’s school bus passing law, putting students at risk.

Drivers illegally passed school buses more than 300 times in one day this year, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. An estimated two million drivers illegally pass buses every year statewide.

“It’s very concerning,” said FHP Lt. Greg Bueno. “It’s concerning for us as law enforcement and should be concerning to the entire community.”

These statistics are especially worrisome for parents in the Ashlar Apartment Homes complex on Daniels Parkway, where heavy traffic runs close to where buses stop.

“They don’t care or they don’t pay attention. [They’re] texting, drinking their coffee, screaming to the kids in the backseat, they’re messing around, they don’t care about their surroundings,” said Stephanie Kafka, a mother who lives at the Ashlar.

Illegal bus passing has become such an issue there that parents are wondering why school buses don’t simply pull into the complex instead of dropping students off on the road.

“Each time a bus pulls off a major roadway, the sides of the bus become exposed and vulnerable,” said
Robert Codie, transportation director for Lee County schools.

Buses are built to sustain impact just from the rear and the front, he said.

Rules of the road

Drivers on the opposite side of the road where a median is present don’t have to stop, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Vehicles traveling the same way as the bus must stop.

While driving on a single lane highway, it’s against the law to drive by a bus with a stop signal, regardless of which direction drivers are traveling.

Illegally passing a bus on the right-hand side can result in a $265 fine while passing on the left-hand side is a $165 fine, according to state law.

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