As expected Hillsborough County roadways were heavy with traffic as children returned to school last month, prompting local law enforcement officials to ask residents’ help to assist Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) deputies with driver safety.
As reported by HSCO, among the concerns is the fact that the state of Florida does not provide bus transportation for school children who live within a two-mile radius of their school and many residential roads and some major roadways have the potential to be school routes.
One of the first reminders included drivers to be especially cautious as they approach intersections, with or without marked crosswalks, and pay particular attention to those areas that are designated as school crossings with the bright yellow signs.
When approaching traffic signals, especially those designated as school crossings, deputies are asking motorists to make note of children who approach the roadway.
Right turns on red can be extremely dangerous to pedestrians, especially smaller ones who might be difficult to see from the driver’s seat, deputies said.
HCSO deputies will also heighten their patrols in school zones and other roadways in the vicinity of schools.
According to HCSO spokesperson Debbie Carter, fines for speeding in Hillsborough County school zones can exceed $500 and some have a mandated court appearance.
Another major concern going into the new school year is school bus safety.
“Every year, there are repeated incidents of drivers failing to obey the laws regarding stopped school buses,” said master deputy Curtis Warren. “The language of the law regarding the passing of a stopped school bus can be a bit confusing, but must be understood and cannot be ignored.”
Motorists who are uncertain about when a stop is required can visit the state’s “Stop on Red, Kids Ahead” Website at www.floridaschoolbussafety.gov.
Warren emphasized, “Children are not easily seen as they exit and walk around the front of a bus, but these laws are in place to protect them within our community.”
For more information please visit www.sdhc.k12.fl.us or www.dot.state.fl.us.
Rules For The Road:
Leave adequate space between your vehicle and the bus.
Stop if you are moving in the same direction as a stopped bus.
Remain stopped until the bus withdraws its Stop sign.
Be on the lookout for kids around school bus loading and unloading areas.
Obey all traffic signs and signals.
Pay attention; avoid distractions.
Do your part to make every school crossing a safe place for children to walk.
Pay attention to speed limits, school crossing guards and unpredictable
children, since these situations may require you to reduce your speed or stop.
When children (walking, bicycling or skating) or school crossing guards are present in a crosswalk, drivers must yield or stop at the marked stop line and without stopping in the crosswalk. It is the driver’s responsibility to avoid
colliding with pedestrians.
Always walk to the bus stop. Never run.
Walk on the sidewalk. If there is no
sidewalk, walk on the left facing traffic.
Never speak to strangers at the bus stop or get into a stranger’s car.
Wait for the bus to arrive, watch for red flashing lights and the Stop arm to extend. Look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
Buckle up if your school bus has