Sheriff urges drivers to watch for students next week

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Students across the Suncoast will be heading back to school this Monday, and Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight is urging drivers and kids to follow these safety tips:

  1. Adults who drive children to school should leave early to avoid the rush.
  2. All motorists should watch for kids in school zones and on nearby streets.
  3. Vehicles must stop for all school buses when the stop sign is out and lights are flashing. This is true even if the bus is on the opposite side of the street, unless a median more than four feet wide divides the road.
  4. Teach children to catch the eye of drivers when walking in front of a school bus or crossing the street.
  5. Always drive slowly in school zones and pay close attention to crossing guards.

"This might be the first time some students are walking or riding bikes to school," said Sheriff Tom Knight. "Children could also be new to the neighborhood and unfamiliar with the roads, so drivers can never allow distractions to take their eyes off the road."

In school zones, current fines start at $156 for driving one to nine miles per hour over the speed limit and go up to $456 for 20 to 29 miles per hour over. There is a mandatory court appearance for driving 30 miles per hour or more over the speed limit or passing a school bus on the exit side.

My name is Scott.