New bill in Florida would make tougher fines for blowing by stopped buses

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One lawmaker is pushing for stricter consequences for putting kids’ lives in danger. He wants higher fines for drivers in cars that blow right past school buses letting kids out.

There is bright, school zone signage. Give kids a “brake.” All reminders for drivers to proceed with caution.

“Something can happen at any time,” said Eveyln Fernandez, a parent. “Sadly enough, especially in season, there’s hardly a day that goes by where we don’t go by an accident.”

Jocelyn Mullay, a 12th grader, gets a ride from Mom to school.

“I feel a little bit more comfortable with my mom taking me,” Jocelyn said.

She is in favor of a more substantial fine for drivers who pass stopped school buses. The penalty would make a driver think twice about his or her actions.

“It’s safer,” Jocelyn said. “People will probably follow the rules more.”

A state bill recently filed said drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus can get a fine up to $400. In some cases, the driver can have a license suspension. If the bill passes through legislation, it can take effect as soon as July 1 of next year.

Sarah McGuire is wary about the impact.

“Here are a lot of people who violate the laws all the time,” said McGuire, a parent. “But in my thoughts, I just don’t think it’s going to stop anybody.”

Adam Fowler, a parent, said it is more than increasing penalties to see a change.

“I also think that they should move the bus stops off the main road,” Fowler said. “It’s just safer and it’ll avoid a lot of complications, frustrations with people trying to get to work.”

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