REMINDER: A Look at Florida's School Bus Law Before School Starts

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BAY COUNTY-- Bay County Public School students head back to school next week. District Transportation officials are reminding local drivers to stay alert.

They're reminding people about Florida laws regarding school bus stops and school zones. On August 19th, Bay County drivers will be sharing the road with school buses again.

That means drivers need to be on high-alert for buses and for students. Director of Transportation Bob Downin explained, "Their vision hasn't quite developed yet so they're gonna misjudge a car coming and that's really where the drivers need to be responsible."

Pedestrians aren't the only thing you need to watch out for. Panama City Police said the area at Edgewood Apartments right by Winn Dixie on 23rd Street was their number one problem area.

That's because drivers wouldn't stop for school buses. Drivers have to stop on both sides of the street because there is no median.

Panama City Police Officer John Pauga said, "If there is a five-foot grassy median or a physical barrier of some kind, you're not required to stop but you certainly should be alert." If you don't stop, you could face a minimum $265 fine.

Pauga continued, "If they were to somehow pass on the side of the bus that children get in and out of, where the door is, it's at least that fine plus there's a mandatory court hearing." Fines for speeding in a school zone are doubled.

"A two-hundred and fifty-dollar fine could turn into a four-hundred dollar fine." If you see a violation, report the vehicle's tag number and vehicle description to your local law enforcement.

District officials said they'd like parents to discuss school bus discipline with their kids. "We'd really like to have the help of the parents. Discipline on buses is always difficult. So the help of the parents educating them how important it is to behave on the bus just makes it easier on the driver."

To report traffic violations, call your nearest law enforcement agency.