ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When a school bus stops and its driver turns on the red flashing lights, what do you do if you're following behind?

The law is clear: You must stop.

Many school districts Monday across Tampa Bay will be welcoming students back to school, so it's important to remember the rules of the road during the school year. 

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school bus roads rule
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

The law regarding stopping for stopped school buses is already pretty simple: 

  • On a two-lane road: Vehicles in both directions must stop.
  • Multi-lane road: Vehicles in both directions must stop.
  • Divided highway: Vehicles behind the bus must stop, but the vehicles traveling in the opposite direction should proceed with caution.

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More than 10,930 drivers were caught illegally passing a stopped school bus on a single day in 2018, according to a survey conducted by the Florida Department of Education.

Aside from stopped school buses, pay attention to those school zones.

The posted speed limit for most zones is between 15-20 mph. Watch out for signs designating those areas because fines for speeding in school zones can become costly. 

In Hillsborough County, for example, fines start at $143 for going 1-5 mph above the speed limit and can be as high as $443 for going 20-29 mph above the limit.

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