FHP

What Florida Law says about...


Buckling Up

Remember, Safety Belts won't work unless you use them!

What Florida Law says about... 
Child Restraint Requirements

What Florida Law says about... 
Leaving children unattended in a motor vehicle

According to Florida State Statute:

FSS 316.6135 Leaving children unattended or unsupervised in motor vehicle; penalty; authority of law enforcement officer.

  1. No parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for a child younger than 6 years of age shall leave such child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle for a period in excess of 15 minutes; however, no such person shall leave a child unattended for any period of time if the motor vehicle is running or the health of the child is in danger.
  2. Any person who violates the provisions of subsection (1) is guilty of a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable by a fine of:
  3. Any law enforcement officer who observes a child left unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle in violation of subsection (1) may use whatever means are reasonably necessary to protect the minor child and to remove him from the vehicle.
  4. If the child is removed from the immediate area notification should be placed on the vehicle.
  5. The child shall be remanded to the custody of the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services pursuant to chapter 39, unless the law enforcement officer is able to locate the parents or legal guardian or other person responsible for the child.

What Florida Law says about... 
Reporting on crashes involving death or personal injuries

Florida State Statute - requirements on reporting motor vehicle crashes.

FSS 316.027 Accidents involving death or personal injuries.

  1. (a) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury of any person must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident, or as close thereto as possible, and must remain at the scene of the accident until he has fulfilled the requirements of s. 316.062. Any person who willfully violates this paragraph is guilty of a felony of the third degree.
    (b) The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the death of any person and fails to comply with s. 316.062 is guilty of a felony of the second degree.
  2. The department shall revoke the driver's license of the person so convicted.

What Florida Law says about... 
Reporting on crashes involving damage to vehicle or property

FSS 316.061 Accidents involving damage to vehicle or property.

  1. The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle or other property which is driven or attended by any person shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident or as close thereto as possible, and shall forthwith return to, and in every event shall remain at the scene of the accident until he has fulfilled the requirements of s. 316.062. Any person failing to stop or comply with said requirements shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than $500 or by imprisonment for not more than 60 days or by both such fine and imprisonment.

What Florida Law says about... 
Duty to give information and render aid

FSS 316.062 Duty to give information and render aid. Requires the following:

  1. Name of driver.
  2. Address of driver.
  3. And the registration number of the vehicle he is driving.
  4. And shall upon request and if available exhibit his license or permit to drive, to any person injured in such accident or to the driver of occupant of or person attending any vehicle or other property damaged in the accident.
  5. All of the above information is required to be given to any police officer investigating the accident.
  6. Driver shall render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including the carrying, or making arrangements for the carrying, of such person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent that treatment is necessary, or if such carrying is requested by the injured person.

What Florida Law says about... 
Stopping for School Buses

TO STOP OR NOT TO STOP?
THAT IS THE QUESTION!

With help from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Florida Department of Education has initiated a toll free WATS line (1-888-STOP-4-Kids) for citizens to report motorists who pass school buses stopped to pick up or discharge students. When a person calls the "Hotline" they will be asked to leave the tag number, vehicle state of origin, and the time, date and location where the illegal pass was witnessed. The Department will send a letter to the registered vehicle owner informing them about the potentially tragic consequences of not stopping for a school bus. The letter will also advise them of Florida law that states when they must stop for school busses, including the penalties for violation. Persons may also call the number to simply request information, which will be mailed to them.

We all know that school buses are prominent in morning and afternoon traffic during the time public and private schools are in session. But, do we all, as drivers of other vehicles, know the various situations in which we (1) must stop for a school bus, (2) stay stopped for how long, and (3) may continue driving without stopping?

In 1994, two Florida children were killed when struck by private motorists who ran the stop arms and flashing red lights of two public school buses while the buses were properly stopped at school bus stops. An additional child was similarly killed in 1995. The Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida detected 10,590 illegal passes of properly stopped and signaling school buses in a one-day survey in May 1995. This equates to over 1.9 million illegal passes of properly stopped and signaling school buses in a typical school year. Of these illegal passes, approximately four percent were passes on the right or loading side of the properly stopped and signaling school bus.

Section 316.172, Florida Statutes, states:

"(1)(a) Any person using, operating, or driving a vehicle on or over the roads or highways of this state shall, upon approaching any school bus which displays a stop signal, bring such vehicle to a full stop while the bus is stopped, and the vehicle shall not pass the school bus until the signal has been withdrawn. A person who violates this section commits a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.

(b) Any person using, operating, or driving a vehicle that passes a school bus on the side that children enter and exit when the school bus displays a stop signal commits a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318, and is subject to a mandatory hearing under the provisions of s. 318.19.

(2) The driver of a vehicle upon a divided highway with an unpaved space of at least 5 feet, a raised median, or a physical barrier is not required to stop when traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus which is stopped in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(3) Every school bus shall stop as far to the right of the street as possible and shall display warning lights and stop signals as required by rules of the State Board of Education before discharging or loading passengers. When possible, a school bus shall not stop where the visibility is obscured for a distance of 200 feet either way from the bus."

O. K., now you know what the law says, but what does this mean in non-statute language? It is really very simple.

(1) If you are going the same way as a school bus that is flashing red lights and has the stop arm extended, you must stop behind the bus and cannot move until the bus retracts the stop arm and turns off the flashing red lights.

(2) If you are going the opposite way as a school bus that is flashing red lights and has the stop arm extended, you must stop in front of the bus and cannot move until the bus retracts the stop arm and turns off the flashing red lights -- UNLESS:

(A) you are on a divided highway and the one-way roadways are separated by an unpaved space at least five feet in width, or

(B) you are on a divided highway and the one-way roadways are separated by a physical barrier.

In short, you must stop for a school bus that is flashing red lights and has the stop arm extended -- unless (1) you are going the opposite direction, (2) you are on a divided highway, and (3) the divided highway has either a five-foot unpaved space or a physical barrier separating the roadways. If all three of the above are present, you should continue driving at a legal speed, but with an increased awareness that school-aged children are in the vicinity.

Ah, do you have some questions? Like, what is a barrier? Like, what is an unpaved space? Like, what about paved cross-overs on some divided highways? These answers should help you!

A barrier is a continuous permanent or semi-permanent obstruction that makes it very difficult for a vehicle or pedestrian to go from one roadway to another. Examples of a barrier are a chain-link fence or a concrete abutment. Traffic cones or trees in a medium are not barriers. ALSO, PAINTED LINES, PAVEMENT MARKINGS, AND ONE- OR TWO-WAY LEFT-HAND TURN LANES DO NOT CONSTITUTE A BARRIER.

An unpaved space is a grass, dirt, gravel, water, etc. division between one- or multi-lane roadways going in opposite directions. This space may either be a swale lower than the roadways or a median raised above the roadways. While "paved" sometimes refers only to concrete surfaces, in this context "paved" refers to any hard surfaced permanent ground cover.

Most divided highways with an intervening unpaved space or barrier have paved cross-overs at certain intervals. What do you do if a bus is stopped exactly at that cross-over? It is the general character of the entire road that counts and in this situation you are not required to stop, unless there is a school crossing guard on duty who is signaling you to stop or there is a traffic signal with a red light facing toward your vehicle.

The one- or two-way left hand turn lanes common between many single- and multi-lane roadways are never to be considered a barrier or "unpaved" space. If you are traveling on one of these roads, you must stop for a school bus that is flashing red lights and has the stop arm extended -- regardless of the direction you are traveling or the number of lanes in either direction.

School buses are equipped with yellow flashing lights in addition to red flashing lights. Do I have to stop for a bus that is flashing yellow lights? Flashing yellow lights are for warning purposes, primarily to let you know the driver is nearing a loading or unloading zone and will soon be stopping and displaying flashing red lights and extending the stop arm. You should not stop for flashing yellow lights; however, you should slow and be prepared to come to a complete stop. If otherwise legal and safe to pass, you may pass a school bus in this situation. But again, be aware that there may be school-aged children in the vicinity.

Remember, most likely you will not be the only vehicle on the roadway going in the same direction. When you see a school bus with yellow lights flashing, start preparing to stop. Signal your intentions by slowing down and activating your brake lights. Don't surprise the drivers behind you by your actions. You know the law and are a safe driver. Always let the other driver, who may not know the law or may not be as safety conscious as you, know what you are doing.

OK. Are you ready for the final examination in School Bus Safety 101? Let's see how you do!

What Florida Law says about... 
Accidents and Reports

FSS 316.065 Accidents; reports;

  1. The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any persons or damage to any vehicle or other property in an apparent amount of at least $500 shall immediately by the quickest means of communication give notice of the accident to the local police department, if such accident occurs with a municipality; otherwise, to the office of county sheriff or the nearest office or station of the Florida Highway Patrol.

If you are involved in a traffic crash in the State of Florida, the following information will be needed by the investigating officer:

 

Published by BenmerguiLaw.comReal Estate Lawyers in Miami Florida. Also qualified in Florida Personal Injury, Immigration, and Commercial Litigation Attorneys in South Florida. Winning a case requires the best representation, at the Law Offices of Isaac Benmergui, P.A., we are committed to delivering the best legal services in a professional and confidential manner. Please contact our office to schedule a complimentary consultation or call now at 305.407.9464 for immediate, live assistance. Call now!