Driving in School Zones Safely after a Year Off

After months or a full year of trying (often in vain) to get their kids to focus on classes taking place via Zoom while at the same time trying to work remotely from home themselves during the Covid-19 pandemic, many parents are excited that in-person schooling is returning. Thus far, all major school districts across South Florida have announced they intend to resume in-person instruction for all students in the fall. Given that the kids are going back to school, streets across South Florida are thus expected to start becoming more crowded with traffic as the lines of parents waiting to drop off or pick up their little ones causes more traffic backups.  In addition, many offices will also be re-opening that may have been closed for the duration of the pandemic and traffic will naturally be heavier across South Florida as a result of these additional commuters on the road.  Therefore, there will be even more people on the roads than there have been at any time over the past year and a half just at the time when there will be additional kids crossing at crosswalks or being dropped off by parents outside of schools. And that means you need to be keenly aware of driving in school zones.

After a year off, many drivers may have forgotten the dos and don’ts when it comes to driving in school zones in Florida.  Thus, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley wanted to provide a friendly reminder to always ensure you adhere to Florida law regarding driving in school zones this fall, given that many incidents can be avoided simply by complying with Florida law if you are driving in a school zone or near a school.

Texting in School Zones

First and foremost, if you are anywhere near a school, you need to get off your phone.  Not texting in school zones became the law in the Sunshine State in mid-2019, but many people still have not gotten the message that using their mobile phones in a school zone is an absolute no-no.  Having had a year off when many people were working at home or may not have been driving as much can lead to forgetting some of the basic rules of the road.  For instance, in legislation that was passed in 2019 and took effect in the middle of that year, Florida motorists were no longer permitted to use handheld wireless communication devices to type or enter letters, numbers or symbols into such devices while at the wheel.  This includes using a mobile phone for texting, emailing, browsing the web, etc.  The first violation results in a $30 fine, while the second results in a $60 fine plus three points on a driver’s license.

Speed Limits in A School Zone

Under Florida law, drivers also are required to slow down around schools.  Cities or municipalities are permitted to set the speed limit in school zones anywhere between 15-20 mph.  The speed limits can be in effect thirty (30) minutes before, after and during the times that children are being picked up and dropped off from school.  Most school zones are marked with a flashing yellow light to warn drivers ahead of time that the speed limit will be changing up ahead, although this is not necessarily a requirement under Florida law in every school zone.  For motorists that choose not to observe the speed limits in a school zone, the penalties can be harsh: the amount of the fine that you can receive is based upon how many times you have committed the offense as well as how fast you were going.  Driving anywhere between 1-9 mph over the limit is a $50 fine and three points to someone’s license, while driving 10-14 mph over the limit is a $200 fine and three points.  The penalties only escalate from there.

Contact Schwed, Adams & McGinley

At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of experience representing the victims of motor vehicle accidents and other personal injury scenarios in Florida.  Our firm and its attorneys have handled the tragic situations that often result from someone not following Florida law while operating his or her vehicle in a school zone, whether by driving too quickly or texting while driving instead of carefully ensuring that the motorist was operating his or her vehicle safely to avoid an incident in which a child is injured. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence in Florida, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A. today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.