County Public Schools start Monday August 24, 2009
With the start of school, heightened public awareness is necessary to insure the
safe commute to and from schools for the children of our community. Be aware
that students and buses will be out early and there will be a significant impact
on traffic, especially in areas around school sites. The approximate times for
schools are listed below.
• Elementary Schools – 8:30 – 3:00 (varies a little)
• Middle School Students will be at their old bell times of 9:30 – 3:50.
• High Schools are back to old bell times of 7:20 – 2:10 (varies a little)
We also have 3 new schools in the County:
• Keene’s Crossing Elementary – Keene’s Pheasant Dr. / Bridgewater Crossing
• Lake Nona High School – Narcoossee Road / Tyson Road
• East River High School – Colonial Dr. / Columbia School Rd. – Chuluota Rd.
Drivers should be reminded to plan accordingly. Modifying their route, when
appropriate to do so, might be an option as well as leaving early and allowing
extra time for their daily commute. It's extremely important that drivers
eliminate distractions while driving, especially in and around school zones and
crossings. Please avoid cell phone/text usage ANYTIME you are behind the wheel,
but especially in areas where children are walking to and from school or loading
on buses. Be alert, be aware, and be prepared to make sudden stops to allow
student pedestrians and crossing guards adequate time to cross roads safely.
Below are a few of the laws that are extremely important during the school year.
The fines associated with a violation of these laws reiterate the importance of
safety for our students.
1. It is unlawful to pass a stopped school bus (exhibiting its stop sign/stop
arm) on the right or loading side of the bus. Drivers cannot pass on the right
for any reason...including entering a right turn lane, in a legitimate travel
lane, or alongside the shoulder. Motorists must remain stopped until the bus
driver has retracted its stop sign. Drivers charged with doing so face a
mandatory court appearance and a minimum fine of $351.00.
2. Passing a stopped school bus exhibiting it's stop sign/stop arm will result
in a $251.00 fine. (Note, an undivided roadway requires that traffic traveling
in BOTH directions stop until the stop sign/stop arm is retracted. Divided
roadways with an unpaved surface of at least 5', a raised median, or a physical
barrier requires only traffic traveling in the same direction as the bus stop
until the stop sign is retracted.)
3. Failure to yield to pedestrians is a moving violation which results in a
minimum fine of $146.00.
4. Red light running (or making a right turn on red without first coming to a
full stop) could result in a moving violation and a fine of $211.00.
5. Speeding in a designated school zone could result in a fine ranging between
$136-436.00, depending on the severity of the violation.
Finally, it is equally important for parents to be aware of their need for
heightened awareness, patience, and safety as they contribute to the greatest
amount of traffic around school sites. Everyone in the car should be properly
restrained with a safety belt. Failure to do so can result in a fine of $96.
Failure to have small children properly restrained in a child safety seat is a
moving violation and can result in points against the driver's license and an
even higher fine. And, ALL schools have a traffic pattern for parent
pick-up/drop-off. Parents should make use of these plans, even if they take a
bit longer. On average, all school traffic disseminates within 15-20 minutes...a
very small amount of time when considering the safety of our children. Parents
should be reminded to NOT drop their children off in the roadway, expecting them
to cross through moving and/or parked traffic on foot. This is becoming more and
more prevalent and a significant concern to the traffic safety community.
Violators can be cited for obstructing traffic.
Law enforcement agencies from around the county will have a strong presence on
our roadways in the first weeks of schools promoting safe habits on behalf of
motorists and pedestrians around schools. Please remember to drive, walk, and
bike safely. Be courteous and observant of others!
Sheryl L. Bradley, Traffic Safety Supervisor
Orlando Police Department, Special Operations Division
Chairperson, Orange County CTST