A new school year starts every year, but that doesn’t deter drivers from incurring thousands of violations related to speeding in school zones and not stopping for school buses.

In 2017, there were more than 31,000 violations for speeding in school zones in the state of Florida. During the same year, there were nearly 2,000 citations for failure to stop for a school bus.

The statistics and upcoming start of a new school year warrant a reminder about the laws regarding school zones and school bus stops.

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The law is simple: You can’t drive faster than the posted speed limit for a school zone, which is typically between 15 and 20 mph.

Fines for speeding in school zones can be hefty. In Hillsborough, 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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Because of school zones and a general increase in traffic on the roads during the school year, the Tampa Bay area has quite a few traffic hot spots:

Traffic Hot Spots:

-- Westbound I-4 from I-75 to I-275 in Hillsborough: Summer drive time is 12 minutes. School drive time is 15-20 minutes.

-- SB I-275 from the Apex to I-4 in Hillsborough: Summer drive time is 20 minutes. School drive time is 30 minutes.

-- Westbound I-4 from Polk Pkwy (Lakeland) to I-75 (Tampa): Summer drive time is 18 minutes. School drive time is 20-25 minutes.

-- NEW this year: Gandy Boulevard. Because of the Selmon Extension project, drivers need to prepare for heavier than normal traffic heading eastbound on the Gandy Bridge into Tampa. Prepare for an extra 10 minutes.

-- Expect delays on roads around schools. We will start to experience traffic during drop-off/pick-up which we are not used to after a quiet summer.

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.

The graphic below from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles explains the school bus law pretty clearly.

schoolroadrulesfinal_1533670495894.jpg
Photo: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

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