The return of the school year means school zones are once again active and school buses are back out on the road. Motorists should be careful to observe the traffic laws that cover driving through school zones and approaching school buses. Violating these laws can cause a driver to incur points on a driving record. 

As reported by The Florida Times-Union, the Florida state legislature has boosted the penalties for certain traffic violations that pertain to school zones and school buses. An unwary driver could acquire some more points that might lead to a driving license suspension, or a driver may suffer a suspension outright for violating one of these laws. 

Prohibition on cell phone use in school zones

A 2019 state law has added to driver responsibilities when it comes to passing through school zones. Under this new law, Florida drivers cannot have their cell phones in hand as they drive through a school zone or a designated school crossing. This prohibition also extends to driving through an active work zone. Violating this law can incur a $60 fine and three points on a driving record. 

More penalties for not stopping near a school bus

According to the FLHSMV, more changes in state law will take effect for 2021. Many drivers know to stop when approaching a school bus that has stopped on the road and extended its stop signs. However, Florida law now increases the penalty fee for not stopping from a minimum $100 fine to $200. Also, a driver who passes up a school bus on the side when the bus has its stop signal activated will see an increased minimum fine to $400. 

Violating these laws can lead to a quicker route to a driver license suspension. A person who violates the stopped school bus law for the second time in five years will see a suspension possibly lasting for a year. A driver who passes a school bus with the stop sign in effect twice in five years will possibly incur a suspension that lasts for two years.