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Officials urge safety ahead of first day of school | #schoolsaftey

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay County Sheriff’s officials joined Bay District school officials Friday morning to remind drivers to be extra vigilant around school buses and school zones.

School and law enforcement officials are asking drivers to pay extra attention starting August 10.

“We want to raise awareness about the importance of safe driving, slowing down and overall safety for our children,” Bay District Schools Superintendent Mark McQueen said.

But, don’t be surprised if you see buses on the roads beginning Wednesday. The district is having bus drivers run their routes a day early, without students on board. It will help them learn the routes, and raise awareness of the other drivers on the road, officials said.

“Last year, our 98 school bus drivers recorded on one day nearly 200 incidents of vehicles trying to rush by the bus when the bus had the red lights flashing,” McQueen said.

Authorities are also recommending parents and guardians practice driving to school.

“Before school starts that you go and run the route, just see what it is, see where the school is, what school you’re going to, where your pick up and your drop off line is so you’ll be familiar with it when that time comes,” BDS Police Chief Doug Boortz said.

Come Thursday, law enforcement will be looking for violators.

“School zones have special speed limits, and that’s quite a bit lower, especially during those time periods a school is getting and letting out, you’ll see the flashing lights, it’s a very pretty serious fine for that,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said. “We’re going to be conducting some extra patrol and extra enforcement during the starting week so actually all during the school year.”

Ford is also encouraging overall safety on campus.

“If something seems out of place, if something seems unsafe, if somebody has made a comment that concerns you, make sure and tell your parents if you’re a parent, make sure and tell the school administration,” Ford said.

Also, remember it’s against Florida law to use your cell phone while driving through a school zone. If you have any questions about school bus routes or about a school contact the district at (850) 767-4100 or by visiting their website.

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