Brevard Motorists Exercise Caution As School Returns

By  //  August 8, 2012

Thousands Of Kids On Roadways

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – As the start of the new school season begins on the Space Coast today, motorists are asked to be cautious because children see, hear and react differently to traffic situations than adults.

School children across Brevard County return to classes this morning. (Shutterstock image)

The Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization and the Brevard County Community Traffic Safety urge motorists to slow down and watch for children. Until children are at least 10 or 11 years old, they have limited developmental skills to handle complex traffic situations.

• Children tend to overestimate their own abilities.

• They are impulsive and tend to do things without thinking.

• They are easily distracted and tend to focus on one thing at a time.

• Children are short, which makes it difficult for them to see motorists and for motorists to see them. This is especially true when there are others obstructions in the way, such as parked or moving cars, buses and bushes.

• Children have underdeveloped peripheral vision, about one-third narrower than an adult’s. A child won’t see a motorist approaching from the right or left as easily as an adult will.

• Children lack the ability to understand how much time and distance is needed for a vehicle to stop.

• Children are unable to determine direction of sounds.

• Children often think that if they can see a car then the driver can see them.

• Children often do not recognize or react to unsafe situations.

Members of the Brevard County Community Traffic Safety Team want all Brevard County residents to be concerned about the safety of students as they make their journey to and from school.

Motorists should obey state traffic laws put in place to protect students.

One such law is Florida State Statute 316.172 governing the passing of stopped school buses. The law states that any vehicle approaching a school bus from either direction must stop when the bus is stopped and displaying its red flashing lights and stop sign(s).

There are exceptions to the law. If one of these conditions exists, vehicles are not required to stop:

• If a vehicle is traveling on a divided highway, approaching the bus from the opposite direction

• The highway has an unpaved divider of more than 5 feet or

 A raised median or

 A physical barrier in the middle

Ignoring the law could lead to stiff penalties from local law enforcement. School bus infractions carry enhanced fines and additional points against your license.

Each year about 10 students nationwide lose their lives because of someone passing a stopped school bus. So remember, pay extra attention around school zones, watch for children and stop for school buses loading or unloading children.