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Driving safety reminders for back to school

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Classes have resumed in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties. As students head back to school, law enforcement wants to remind drivers that there is a zero tolerance policy beginning Monday for speeding in school zones and passing school buses that have their stop sign extended for students boarding or leaving the bus.

A few safety tips to remember:

· Students being back in class means increased traffic on the roads. Allow extra time to reach your destination and watch for other cars, pedestrians, bicyclists and school buses.

· Buckle up! Make sure all occupants of the car, especially children, are always buckled up. In Florida, all passengers under 18 years old must wear a seatbelt or be restrained in a child car seat.

· Pay attention to crossing guards and always drive slowly in school zones and near schools – Many students walk to and from class and to and from home.

· Cars must stop for all school buses when a stop sign is out and the lights are flashing, even if the bus is on the opposite side of the street unless there is a raised median more than four feet wide that divides the street.

Fines for speeding in school zones and passing school buses can range anywhere from $156 to $456. Officers are encouraging drives to slow down and allow plenty of time getting to and from their destination.