It is that time of year again, time for all the kids to head back to school! That means we must be more vigilant on the roads for kids that are heading to school whether they are walking or riding the bus!
School Bus Stops
According to a Florida Department of Education survey conducted in April 2012, more than 21,000 drivers illegally passed school buses on a one day survey. That represents over 3.7 million possible violations by motorists in Florida during the 180-day school year. Each illegal pass-by could result in a tragic injury or fatality of a student. The inconvenience of an extra few seconds spent waiting for a stopped school bus is insignificant compared to the loss of a child’s life, which is why Florida’s departments of Education, Transportation, and Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, have teamed up to develop the Stop on Red, Kids Ahead campaign to remind drivers of the laws and safe practices to take when approaching a school bus.
School Zone Speed Limits
Take a guess at the biggest fine you can get for speeding. Think it’s $200 or $300, not even close. Fines are doubled for speeding in a construction or school zone. Get caught speeding more than 30 mph over the speed limit in a school or construction zone and the fine is $555.50.
Around most Florida schools the speed limit is 20 mph. Special speed limit signs are posted around schools to alert you as you enter the zone. These signs have flashing lights to tell you when the lower speed limit is in effect. And there is a sign to indicate when you have left the school zone. The reasons for low speed limits when school children are present are obvious. Kids will be crossing the street on foot and on their bicycles. There will be extra heavy traffic of parents picking up their kids. In addition there will be school buses entering or exiting the school. Pay special attention when school buses are present. When a school bus stops you must stop. Never pass a school bus that is loading or unloading children. Passing a stopped school bus is a 4 point infraction and is very dangerous.
Our assumption is that no one would intentionally speed in a school zone or pass a school bus. The primary reason that drivers break these rules is lack of attention. If you have ever driven 5 blocks and can’t remember it you know what we mean. Day dreaming, listening to music, or talking on your cell phone are a few examples of activities that distract you from driving.
Focus on the Driving
Keep your focus on driving and make other activities secondary and you will notice that flashing speed limit sign, the stopped school bus, or the construction ahead sign, all designed to tell you to slow down or pay attention.