PALM HARBOR, Fla. - Many drivers are proving they do not know -- or do not care -- about laws that require them to hit the brakes for stopped school buses.
Cell phone video taken Monday morning by Brittany Olsen shows seven cars blow by a school bus that was picking students up along Alternate U.S. 19 in Palm Harbor. Later that day, FOX 13 cameras caught several cars committing the same violation.
Deputies with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office pulled over six drivers who disregarded the bus’ extended arm and flashing stop sign.
“It happens every time,” said Olsen. “Sometimes it’s just a couple of cars, but as you saw today, it’s six, seven cars.”
The sheriff’s office says it is aware of this issue and saw the same problems last school year. Deputies patrol the area regularly, but Olsen says drivers must do their part.
“It’s every day and it’s hard for (deputies) to be sitting here every day waiting for the cars to come, I think it’s just take it into your own hands to do the right thing, pay attention,” said Olsen.
Florida law requires drivers to stop whenever a school bus displays a stop signal. Whether it is a two-lane road, or a multi-lane road with a center turn-lane, all traffic must stop in both directions. The only exception is when five feet of raised median or barrier divides the traffic going in opposite directions.
Fines for breaking the rules range from $165 to $265.
“I think people should just pay attention because one mistake can change somebody’s life forever,” Olsen added.