Florida drivers implored to drive safely in school zones
With the Florida school year having started, drivers need to share the road with school buses and watch for children as they head to and from school. State law enforcement is reminding them that they need to be vigilant to avoid auto accidents.
Even though there are strict rules with speed limits and when to stop for school buses, many drivers ignore them. In addition, there are the everyday dangers like distraction, reckless driving, negligence and drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If an accident involving a student happens, there can be terrible consequences.
Reminders for drivers during the new school year
In St. Petersburg and across the Sunshine State, the new school year has sparked law enforcement and legislators to remind drivers of the law and to be cautious when children are around. School zone speeding violations have been prevalent and drivers are being cited. Since children are vulnerable to catastrophic injuries and death if they are hit by a vehicle at any speed, it is imperative for drivers to slow down.
During one patrol near a local high school, law enforcement stopped drivers who were speeding just as school was letting the kids out. Drivers were clocked doing double the 20-mph speed limit in the school zone. This can lead to tickets of $450. Another worry is drivers who are using their handheld devices and not paying attention in school zones.
Drivers must also be cognizant of the rules for school buses. When the school bus “arm” is extended with its stop sign, drivers are not allowed to go around it. Some buses are equipped with cameras to catch drivers who ignore the law. In Florida, there is a requirement that all drivers, regardless of the direction they are heading, must stop if it is a two-way street or a highway where children are getting on and off. This does not apply to highways where there is a barrier.
The penalties were increased in 2021 if drivers did not stop. Previously, the fine was $100, but now it is $200. A second violation within 5 years will lead to a suspended license. Accidents in which children are getting on and off buses are one of the most common ways in which injuries and deaths occur. In the decade from 2006 to 2015, more than one in three child fatalities occurred near the school bus.
When children are injured in an auto accident, drivers must be held accountable
Drivers following the law and understanding the jeopardy children will be in if they are reckless in school zones can go a long way to making the roads safer for kids during the school year. Unfortunately, many drivers do not listen nor do they worry about fines they might receive for legal violations.
As this information shows, the new school year is stoking increased concern about driver behaviors and children’s safety. After an auto accident involving a child, their lives can be radically altered with serious injuries, long-term problems and the need for extensive care.
If there is a fatality, the family will be left without a child and need to confront the emotional and personal loss. Having assistance with deciding what to do after this type of crash can help with deciding what options are available to ensure the medical expenses are covered and those responsible are held to account for what they have done.