School starts Monday, August 20, 2012, and the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office reminds motorists to use extra caution and obey speed limits, particularly in school zones.
Many students walk or ride bicycles to school or to the bus stop. This may be new to some children or they may be unfamiliar with the roads in a new neighborhood. Drivers should always be vigilant and never allow distractions to take their eyes off the road.
Motorists 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.
Deputies will strictly enforce all traffic laws near schools, giving citations that carry greater fines than regular speeding infractions. Current fines in school zones are:
- 1-9 miles over the posted limit - $156
- 10-14 miles over the posted limit - $306
- 15-19 miles over the posted limit - $406
- 20-29 miles over the posted limit - $456
- 30+ miles over the posted limit - Mandatory Court Appearance
- Failure to stop for a school bus - $271
Passing a school bus on the exit side also results in a mandatory court appearance.