By Jessica Creagan
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- Indian River County schools are back in session starting Aug. 18, and that means motorists need to be extra vigilant when driving around school zones and near residential areas.
In the morning hours when children are arriving to school in buses, vehicles, on bicycles or on foot, motorists and other pedestrians and cyclists should be watchful of the flashing lights that indicate a school zone. State law also requires cars to stop behind school buses with red flashing lights and an extended stop arm while children board or disembark from the bus.
Many school zones in Indian River County are set for 20 miles per hour for brief periods while school is beginning and ending.
Driving too fast in a school zone puts other motorists in danger, not to mention children who may be crossing the road, officials said.
Rear-end collisions can be more frequent when motorists are not paying attention to the posted speed limits and approach other moving vehicles too quickly.
Fines for driving over the speed limit in a school zone depend on how many miles over the limit the motorist travels.
According to the Indian River County Clerk of Courts website, the fine for exceeding the speed limit in a school zone between one and nine miles per hour is $133. For driving 10 to 14 miles per hour above the limit, the fine increases to $283, for 15 to 19 miles per hour, the fine jumps to $383. Motorists at speeds 20 to 29 miles per hour above the school zone speed during school zone hours will receive a $433 ticket, while drivers exceeding 30 miles per hour above the posted limit will have a mandatory court date in addition to a fine.
Law enforcement officials recommend that children walking or biking to school wear brightly-colored clothing so that motorists can see them more easily, and encourage all students to wear safety helmets while biking.