Summer Vacation: For the kids, it’s the time of year that never seems to come soon enough, and once here, it fades too quickly. For residents who grew up in Florida, it’s easy to remember long, sweltering days and look forward to the invigorating touch of a tropical breeze. Afternoon storms came on suddenly, chilling the days slightly and kicking up steam from the scorched pavement that only moments before had been toasting the bare feet of children playing freely in tight-knit neighborhoods.
If you were lucky enough to have a friend with a pool, it was a godsend. You made sure not to let any of the countless squabbles that can so easily splatter childhood friendships break out, drag you out of a swim. Yes, those were the children with whom you wanted to cultivate friendships. Hey, it might sound selfish, but Florida summers can be brutal, especially if your parents insisted that you “go play outside.”
Well, summers haven’t changed in Florida, but now kids are offered a host of video games, summer camps, and a growing trend to keep kids involved in extracurricular activities. Consequently, fewer children are likely to seek respite under the leafy branches of a live oak or hanging around a neighbor’s house because they know that the family often goes to the beach on weekends. Although those summer days may seem long and lazy, they disappear too quickly. Before you know it, your mom says it’s time to go back to “school shopping.” That can certainly take the wind out of a child’s sails like nothing else.
For some children, going back to school is an exciting time; For others, it can be nine terribly long months until the next summer vacation. Children, however, are not the only ones affected by the return from school. Parents often have to make adjustments to their schedules, too. Taking kids to school, dropping them off at daycare, or just making sure they get to the bus stop on time are all considerations parents should take into account when allocating how much time they will need to get to work or get on with their day.
Parents are not the only ones who should be aware that school has started again. Anyone who drives, takes a taxi, or uses public transportation should remember that travel time will generally be extended if you travel a route that takes you through a school zone.
All drivers must be careful to change their driving habits. School buses can be slow and heavy, which can lead to a lot of frustration if you are already late. Many of us would just like to maneuver around them and go on our way. This is fine if you are in an area where you can safely do so, but often, that is not the case, and this is especially true the closer you get to a place where there is a school.
You may have gotten used to driving through a school zone where traffic is normal and there are no special speed limits when school is not open. Therefore, it is very easy to forget that these areas are going to be substantially more congested than they have been for the past few months. Those same heavy school trucks are going to try to get in and out of traffic to access the school and drop off students. Combine this with parents’ cars and trucks dropping off their kids, and you’ve got traffic congestion that will definitely slow down your progress in the area.
In addition to the possibility of forgetting about the time it will take to drive through areas around schools, it is also easy to forget that in many of these areas, the speed limit can drop quickly from 45 mph or even 55 mph to just 20 mph. . Once this happens, you can be sure that there will be a police officer nearby who will not hesitate to issue a speeding ticket.
Speeding tickets in the school zone are not just another speeding ticket. Because school zones pose a much greater risk to all drivers, speeding tickets issued in school zones can cost two to three times the amount of an average speeding ticket. This increased danger is not only due to school buses, but also to the increased volume of traffic and the presence of children. Anyone familiar with the behavior of children is aware that they do not always pay attention to the threat that traffic can pose to their safety. Therefore, it is imperative that drivers are much more aware of their presence.
Although these reduced speed limits exist for the best of reasons, the way law enforcement officers issue speeding tickets in these speed zones can be really murky. As with other types of speed traps, police officers often sit in school zones in areas that are out of the field of vision of drivers, so often when a driver realizes they are in a school zone, the cop is already on the move to shoot the speeding driver. This often happens even when it is obvious that the driver is trying to slow down. It is not always easy or even feasible to reduce speed safely when entering a speed zone where there is a tremendous decrease in speed.
So now that the kids are back in school, consider the problems this can create for drivers and students. School zone speed limits are likely to be strictly enforced; School buses, per state law, will stop at all railroad crossings and there are no exceptions for stopping on school buses that allow children to get on or off the bus. Once those red lights start flashing on the bus, any attempt to bypass it can, and rightly, result in a hefty traffic ticket. In fact, any of these violations can result in tremendously expensive traffic tickets, so if you receive a traffic ticket in a school zone or for any violation, call our office at 954-967-9898 for a free consultation.