As we approach the start of the 2017-18 school year on August 21st, let’s talk safety.

    School days bring congestion: Yellow school buses are picking up their charges, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, and busy parents are trying to drop their kids off before work.

    It's never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school.

    Schools often have very specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids. The following apply to all school zones: 

    • Don't double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles.
    • Don't load or unload children across the street from the school.
    • Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school.
    • Follow the drop-off pick up procedures at your child’s school/pay attention.

    If your children are walking or riding their bikes to school:

    • Walk the route with them beforehand. Choose the most direct way, and be sure the route has sufficient sidewalks, lighting and crossing guards.  If the crossing guard is absent, be sure your child knows when it is safe to cross the street.
    • Make sure your child walk to and from school with other trusted schoolmates and follow the tried and true axiom, “Never Talk to Strangers.”
    • Teach your kids to obey all traffic signals when walking or biking to school.
    • When biking, be sure your child has a helmet and appropriate safety pads.
    • When waiting for the school bus, always stand on the curb away from the roadway.
    • Be sure your child knows a phone number where you can be reached in case of an emergency.

    Being hit by a car poses the greatest threat to any child walking or riding a bicycle to school. As drivers, it is our responsibility to avoid dangerous distractions behind the wheel. Pay attention near crosswalks and areas around schools where children could potentially run into the roadway. Don’t be a distracted driver.


    The back-to-school season gives drivers a good opportunity to freshen up on the rules of the road. Florida law prohibits passing a school bus in either direction when it is stopped with its red lights flashing. Drivers must also remember to slow down to the posted speed limit in school zones.


    As parents, teachers and community leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure our children's safety. Remember, as we approach the busy back-to-school season, speak to your children about important safety tips. Be mindful on the roadways and avoid unnecessary distractions. Together we can make the 2017-18 school year safe and successful.