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LIST: Back-to-school safety tips, rules of the road

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Three more Tampa Bay area school districts will be welcoming students back Monday for in-person learning. Hillsborough, Hernando, and Sarasota counties are all set to reopen for the first day of school.

As schools welcome students back into the classrooms, that also means back to school traffic will also return. With this in mind, it is important to remember the rules of the road to ensure students get to and from school safely.

Below are a few safety tips:

  • If your student is going to ride their bike to and from school, make sure they have a helmet that properly fits.
  • The first few weeks back to school means the roadways are extra busy so leave in plenty of time to travel.
  • Be alert and watch for children especially near schools, bus stops, school buses and in school parking lots.
  • Reduce or eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings. Put the phone down; no texting and driving.
  • Buckle up! Make sure all passengers and drivers in a car, especially children, are buckled up. In Florida, passengers under 18 years of age must wear a seatbelt or be restrained in a child car seat.
  • Pay extra attention to when you enter and exit a school zone.
  • Watch for and obey signals from school crossing guards.
  • When a school bus stops and the red lights are flashing, traffic approaching from either direction is required to stop.
  • If you illegally pass a school bus on the road, here are some of the penalties you might face*:
    • Moving violation subject to citation
    • Requirement to complete a basic Driver Improvement Course
    • Four points on your driver license
    • Minimum fine of $165, if you pass on the side where children enter and exit, you will receive a minimum fine of $265
  • The only time traffic approaching an oncoming school bus does not need to stop, is if there is a raised barrier such as a concrete divider or at least five feet of unpaved space separating the lanes of traffic. However, drivers should still slow down and use caution when students are getting on or off the bus.

(* – According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles)

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