Sheriff Grady Judd reminds Polk County residents that public schools are back in session Monday, August 20, 2012. The amount of vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic on our roadways will dramatically increase during early morning and after-school hours.
Approximately 48 percent of our schools’ student population are walkers, bike riders, or are transported to school in a car. Please be on the lookout for children everywhere—near schools, in neighborhoods, and along busy roadways.
"Please be vigilant this school year when driving near school buses and through school crossings - watch for the ever-present school crossing guards and note the speed limits in school zones,” reminds Sheriff Judd. “Please remember that fines are doubled in school zones* and that all law enforcement members take the safety of our children very seriously. As a responsible motorist, so should you.”
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office provides school crossing guards at over 150 designated school crossing locations throughout Polk County to ensure the safe escort of our elementary students. These dedicated members arrive for work twice a day, often in inclement weather, and are extensively trained in accordance with recognized national standards.
School crossing guards use gaps in traffic, and may create gaps in traffic as needed, to ensure children’s safety. Some motorists view this break in the traffic flow as an annoyance, and sometimes motorists fail to heed the school crossing guards’ signals. This increases the risk of an accident and endangers children. Please plan extra time for daily commutes while school in session.
When you see a guard, this is a reminder you are near a school and children are in the area. Be alert for posted school zone speed; reduce your speed, or stop if necessary. Do not stop in a crosswalk. Obey signals from the crossing guard, and remember children are unpredictable. Please do your part to make our school zones safer for the children as well as the guards assisting them.
*According to Florida State Statute, drivers who exceed the posted speed limits in school zones, or who pass stopped school buses, will be fined accordingly:
• 1-5 MPH over the speed limit in a school zone: $154.00 fine (in a regular zone: warning)
• 6-9 MPH over the speed limit in a school zone: $154.00 fine (in a regular zone: $129.00)
• 10-14 MPH over the speed limit in a school zone: $304.00 fine (in a regular zone: $204.00)
• 15-19 MPH over the speed limit in a school zone: $404.00 fine (in a regular zone: $254.00)
• 20-29 MPH over the speed limit in a school zone: $454.00 fine (in a regular zone: $279.00)
• 30-49 MPH over the speed limit in a school zone: $604.00 fine (in a regular zone: $354.00)
• Failing to stop for a stopped school bus with its lights flashing: $269.00;
• Passing a stopped school bus with its lights flashing: $369.00 and mandatory court hearing