Keep watch as school cranks up
By LORRIE LYKINSASK
Published August 6, 2006
It's time to downshift and adjust to the increase in traffic volume that occurs when summer begins to wind down and school reconvenes.
Public school opens Tuesday, so keep in mind that there will be more traffic on area streets in the form of school buses, harried parents shuttling kids, and children on foot and on bikes.
Mornings especially will require alertness on the parts of motorists because everyone is in a rush to get to school and work, and school zones slow the flow of traffic, making some drivers impatient.
If you are a commuter, plan to head out a little earlier this week and next to acclimate to the changes in traffic patterns. Remember that early morning glare can really interfere with visibility. Children who are unfamiliar with their routes to and from school may decide to take a short cut into the street and in front of your vehicle, so be alert and pay close attention.* * *
This time of year readers often question the issue of stopping for school buses on divided highways. Do you have to stop if you're traveling in the opposite direction and a median separates the lanes?
The Florida statute regarding traffic stops for school buses is fairly clear as far as statute-speak goes. Here is what statute 316.172 says about stopping for a school bus: "Any person using, operating, or driving a vehicle on or over the roads or highways of this state shall, upon approaching any school bus which displays a stop signal, bring such vehicle to a full stop while the bus is stopped, and the vehicle shall not pass the school bus until the signal has been withdrawn."
The statute goes on to say that drivers on a divided highway with an unpaved space of at least five feet, a raised median, or a physical barrier are not required to stop when traveling in the opposite direction of a stopped school bus.
But again, alertness is important. More roads now have signs posted that stipulate that all traffic must stop in both directions for school bus loading and unloading, regardless of the presence of a median, so watch for those signs.* * *
Since the safety of the children of our community is uppermost in our minds, especially at the start of the school year, it's good to know that if you do spot a safety issue affecting students, there is a repository to document your concerns. Check out the Student Transportation Safety Form on the parents' page of the Pinellas County Schools' Web site at http://www.pinellas.k12.fl.us/forParents/. Reports can be made about dangerous traffic situations around schools, and there is a link at the bottom of the page to school travel safety reports, complete with comments from law enforcement and updated information on steps taken to resolve the problem.* * *
Is there a phantom speed hump on Park Street just before Pasadena Boulevard? Reader Sally Chesnes sent in an e-mail that read: "What's with the 'HUMP' signs? There is no hump."
I jumped in the Buick and checked out Park Street, and Sally's correct. Signs warn of a speed hump, but there is none in sight. Perhaps it's hidden under a Harry Potter-ish invisibility cloak. I'm checking into it. Stay tuned.
Until next week, happy and safe motoring! And slow down, school is almost in session.
Please share your traffic concerns, comments and questions with Dr. Delay via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Last modified August 5, 2006, 19:47:58]
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