By Tamas Mondovics
Starting the second half of the 2016-2017 school year, Alafia Elementary School will have a new school zone on Natures Way Blvd.
The new signage was scheduled to be installed during the school’s winter break.
Motorists, parents and students are all urged to be aware, adjust their driving habits and abide by the new posted signage during the morning and afternoon hours.
The Florida Department of Transportation reported that in 2015, law enforcement officers wrote nearly 40,000 tickets in the state to motorists caught speeding in a school zone.
Florida law says that signs must be posted around each school zone telling drivers how fast they can go and when the school zone is in effect.
Some signs feature flashing lights rather than a list of times.
The posted school zone speed in Florida could be as low as 15 mph, but no higher than 20 mph, as defined in F.S. 334.03.
Signs are posted around schools to alert drivers as they enter the zone, and there is a sign to indicate the end of the school zone.
Aside from the safety aspect of school zones, breaking the speed limit can also be costly.
For starters, in Hillsborough County, speeding in a school zone can cost drivers $143, but depending on the speed and other violations, fines can reach as high as $393, such as in the case of driving 15-19 mph over the 20 mph limit.
Florida law states that school zone speed limits may be in force only during 30 minutes before, during, and 30 minutes after the periods of time when students are arriving at a regularly scheduled breakfast program or a regularly scheduled school session and leaving a regularly scheduled school session.
Of course, the reasons for low speed limits when school children are present are obvious as children are crossing the street on foot and on their bicycles, not to mention the extra heavy traffic of parents picking up their children as well as school buses entering or exiting the school.
In school zones, motorists are urged to pay attention and focus on driving while making other activities secondary.
For more information and reminders, please visit www.dmvflorida.org.