Every day, children across the country climb onto yellow school buses and take a ride to and from school. For many of these students, this will be their only experience riding in a motor vehicle. Is a school bus considered a motor vehicle in Florida? What are the Hallandale Beach regulations for school buses? What is the role of the district school board? This article will answer these questions and discuss some of the most common causes of school bus accidents.
If your child was involved in a school bus accident in Hallandale Beach, be sure to contact Jared Spingarn, P.A. Jared is an experienced attorney who can help you file a claim after a motor vehicle accident involving school buses.
What is a motor vehicle in the state of Florida?
In the state of Florida, a motor vehicle is defined as any self-propelled vehicle such as a car, truck, motorcycle, bus, trailer, and RV. Motor vehicles in Florida can be safely driven on roads and can transport people or property. However, some mobile carriers are not classified as motor vehicles. These include golf carts, tractors, and personal mobility devices.
What is a school bus in Florida?
Is a school bus considered a motor vehicle in Florida? Yes, it is. Under the Florida Statutes, school buses are defined as any motor vehicle that is used to transport more than 15 passengers to and from school. This transportation also includes any school-related activities. The district school board must provide school bus transportation to all public school students from prekindergarten disability programs to grade 12.
Is a school bus a public service vehicle?
Yes, a school bus is considered a public service vehicle by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the Department of Transportation. currently classifies school buses as PSVs. Furthermore, a school bus is under the direct supervision of the school district.
This means the district school board either owns, rents, contracts, or leases a school bus to regularly transport students. It is the responsibility of the district school board to ensure that the district school bus operator abides by the school bus regulations of the state of Florida.
School Bus Regulations in Hallandale Beach
Florida has several regulations for school buses that every school district must follow to ensure road safety. Hallandale Beach follows these same regulations. The district school board must make sure that the school bus operator complies with these regulations when transporting students to and from public schools.
School Bus Safety
School bus safety is essential for students in Hallandale Beach. It should be the top priority of school districts in the area. The district school board is responsible for ensuring that the school bus operator complies with all school bus regulations.
These regulations include the use of safety restraints, emergency exits, and proper lighting on the school bus. By following these regulations, the district school board can help to keep students safe while they are being transported to and from public schools.
The Florida Statutes require all school buses to have occupant protection systems. These systems will protect the students in the event of a crash. The type of system that is required depends on the weight and capacity of the school bus.
All school buses must have a certain number of safety restraints, such as seat belts or lap/shoulder belts, for each passenger. The district school board must make sure that these safety restraints are properly used by all students. Additionally, students should have designated seating positions to ensure their safety.
All school buses must have two emergency exits. These exits are to be used in the event of an accident or fire. The district school board must make sure that these emergency exits are clearly marked and easily accessible.
School Bus Lights
All school buses must be equipped with certain lights, such as headlights, brake lights, and turn signals. These lights help to make the school bus visible to other drivers on the road. The district school board must make sure that these lights are in working order at all times.
School Bus Stops
The district school board shall establish school bus stops. These stops must be placed at the safest possible locations. This will decrease the risk of accidents involving other motor vehicles.
The district school board shall also ensure that proper road signs are in place at every school bus stop. This will alert other motor vehicles that there are designated school bus stops coming up. This is important in locations where unusual traffic hazards exist.
School Bus Routes
Planning the route of school bus operators is the responsibility of the district school superintendent. These routes should be planned with student safety considerations in mind. District school boards are tasked with implementing these routes. The district school board shall ensure that school bus operators follow these routes to safely transport students.
School Bus Drivers
The district school boards are responsible for screening and hiring a school bus driver. The district school board shall ensure that the driver is fit and qualified to transport students aboard the vehicle. The following are the qualifications of a school bus driver in accordance with the Florida Statutes:
- Good moral character
- Physically and mentally fit with no communicable diseases
- Holds a valid commercial driver license
- Passes regular testing for substance use
District school boards must also provide a hotline that other motorists can call if they observe a school bus driver who is operating the bus improperly or negligently while transporting students. The district school superintendent must ensure that these reports are properly dealt with.
Authority of School Bus Drivers
Aside from passing the required qualifications to safely transport students, school bus drivers also hold a certain authority while driving the bus. This will ensure the safety of each trip.
- Ensure that students are in their designated seating positions and the occupant crash protection system is being used.
- Require good behavior by students.
- Take the necessary action in case of emergency to protect student health.
- Stop operating the school bus if a student poses a significant danger.
Exemptions to the use of School Buses
There are a few exemptions to the use of school buses by the district school board. In these cases, school districts can opt to use other motor vehicles to transport the students.
The following are the situations in which the district school board can use other motor vehicles in place of a regular school bus:
- If a student’s physical condition prohibits them to ride a school bus. This also applies to students with decreased physical and mental capabilities and/or students in isolation. The modification of the student’s transportation must be approved by the district school board through an oral or written agreement.
- When the motor vehicle is included in a contract for a specialized educational program. This contract should state that transportation is provided by the service provider.
- When the school transportation is to an agricultural site for a learning activity, event, or competition. Also, when the transportation is for a career education program outside the public schools.
Type of Vehicle
If other motor vehicles are used by the district school board, there are also regulations that must be followed. District school boards in Hallandale Beach must make sure that the type of vehicle to be used complies with the following:
- The motor vehicle to be used should be a multipurpose passenger vehicle or a school district passenger car in good condition. This vehicle should be able to transport less than 10 students.
- All students must have an assigned seating position.
- Students are not allowed to drive the vehicle if used for school transportation. But, students may drive the vehicle on school premises if it is part of their curriculum.
- The driver of the motor vehicle used for school transportation must have a valid driver’s license – in most cases, a valid commercial driver license is required. The driver must provide his driver history records as part of the district school board’s requirements.
- The district school board must have a clear policy in place in case of a school bus accident.
School Bus Accidents
Are school bus crashes common? A school bus is a safer mode of transportation compared to a passenger car. Because a school bus is required to have an occupant crash protection system, it is a safer vehicle for student transportation. However, this does not mean that school buses are exempt from accidents.
School bus accidents can occur due to the negligence of the parties involved in the accident. An accident can cause personal injuries to the bus driver, passengers, and other parties involved. The following are some of the reasons why a bus crash can occur:
- The school bus driver operates the vehicle negligently.
- The school principal fails to check on the health condition of students riding the bus.
- District school board employees fail to have the bus serviced regularly.
- Student transportation providers fail to check the mechanical and safety condition of the bus.
What to do after a school bus accident in Hallandale Beach?
If you or your child are involved in a school bus crash, be sure to contact the law firm of Jared Spingarn. The lawyers at Jared’s firm will assist you from the time you were in the accident up to filing a personal injury claim. They can also assist you in the legal process of filing a lawsuit if you choose to do so.
In a bus accident, several parties can be held liable. The district school board employees, school principal, bus driver, transport service provider, and others. This is why it is important to hire Jared to help you navigate the legal process to recover the compensation you deserve.
Is a school bus considered a motor vehicle in Florida? Yes, a school bus is considered a motor vehicle in the state. Hallandale Beach also follows the same regulations for school buses as the state of Florida. The school district is responsible for ensuring that the school bus meets all requirements to safely transport students.
Even though school buses are safer than privately owned motor vehicles, accidents can still happen. Be sure to get in touch with Jared Spingarn, P.A. in case you or your child is involved in a school bus accident. Jared’s law firm has handled thousands of personal injury and accident cases so you are sure to be in good hands.