HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office plans to pay extra close attention to stretches of Gunn Highway, US-41, US-301 and Hillsborough Avenue to keep students safe during the start of the 2018-2019 school year.
Corporal Kristy Udagawa says bus drivers are especially noticing issues in those areas.
“These are our children. They are easy targets,” said Udagawa. “They are easy victims of traffic fatalities because people are distracted. They’re speeding.”
A state survey tallied the number of drivers who illegally passed buses during one day of the 2017-2018 school year.
Of the 176 bus drivers who participated in Hillsborough County, 32 spotted vehicles illegally passing on the right side of the bus where students get on. The drivers also counted 286 vehicles passing illegally on the left side of their buses.
In Pinellas County, 394 bus drivers participated in the survey. The data revealed 17 vehicles passed on the right. In a single day, 628 vehicles passed on the left.
The St. Petersburg Police Department has found the streets around Gibbs High School and St. Petersburg High School are troublesome despite obvious signage.
“I don’t know why this is so confusing,” said Officer Rob Arrison. “You’ve got school zone painted on the roadway. You’ve got a sign over the roadway that flashes. I actually had one driver go past my cruiser going 55 mph in a 15 mph school zone.”
Students in Hillsborough County go back to class August 10. Students return to school in Pinellas County on August 13.