Saturday, January 20, 2018
Public safety

HCSO awareness campaign: brake for school buses

With more than 90,000 Hillsborough County students riding school buses when the new school year starts on Tuesday, the Sheriff's Office is imploring drivers to stay alert with "Got Brakes?" — a new public awareness campaign and video about when to stop for school buses.

Hillsborough is one of the 10 largest school districts in the country, said Capt. Chad Chronister, and "our deputies can't be everywhere all the time."

About 1,000 of the district's 1,411 buses run each day, said John Franklin, general manager of the Hillsborough County schools transportation department. The buses make two stops, once before school and once after, at each of the county's 20,000 pick up/drop off spots for a total of 40,000 stops.

One of the biggest points of confusion is what drivers should do when they're traveling in the opposite direction of a bus, Chronister said.

"Raised median, proceed with caution," he said. "Anything besides a raised median, you must come to a complete stop."

Vehicles driving in the same direction as the bus should always stop. The same goes for vehicles on a road with a joint center turning lane.

"They think they can use it to pass the school bus," Chronister said, but the law says to stop.

The Sheriff's Office wrote about 100 citations for school bus infractions between August 2012 and August 2013.

"That's 100 out of 20,000 crosses. How many people truly passed that bus and put kids in danger because they don't know or they're simply being impatient?" Chronister asked.

Penalties vary depending on the infraction. For a first offense, it's $165 for a left-hand pass and $265 for a right-hand pass.

The Sheriff's Office sees problems with motorists throughout the county, Chronister said.

"It's pretty comparable all over," he said. "Rural areas, inner-city areas, it's the same."

Not only do drivers need to stop for buses, but they need to be patient. Loading and unloading a wheelchair onto a bus, for example, takes time.

"They could be sitting behind a bus waiting for 10 minutes because it takes time to situate exceptional students with disabilities," Franklin, of the transportation department, said.

Practice run Monday

The transportation department will do a practice run of bus routes on Monday, the day before school starts for students. Bus drivers will run their routes at the scheduled times and the department will make route adjustments as needed.

Bus drivers also go over safety rules with students, and schools do bus evacuation training during the school year, Franklin said.

The department encourages schools to celebrate National School Bus Safety Week in October, and safety tips are available on the transportation department's website.

"We need people to be aware because where there are buses, there are students," Franklin said. "And where there are students, they need to be extra cautious."

Keeley Sheehan can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2453.

   
Comments

Four people linked to Tampa carjacking captured hours later

TAMPA — It took officers just 27 minutes Friday night to capture four people who they said stole a car from its owner.The incident started outside the Ybor Coffee Shop at 5:45 a.m. A group approached the driver as he sat in his 2010 Toyota Corolla. T...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Florida National Guard soldier killed, five injured in Sebring crash

SEBRING — A soldier with the Florida National Guard was killed and five others were hospitalized after a multi-vehicle crash on Friday, officials said.The crash took place at about 1 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 27 and Hammock Road.The soldiers ...
Published: 01/19/18
Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two New Port Richey men face charges after Pasco County deputies say they stole about $11,000 worth of cellphones and cellphone equipment at a Metro PCS store on State Road 54.Robert Jackson and Ronald Hartshorn were arrested Wednes...
Published: 01/19/18
Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

When former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died in a plane crash in November, he had amphetamines, morphine and the sleep aid zolpidem in his system, according to an autopsy report.Halladay, 40, died from blunt force trauma with drowning ...
Published: 01/19/18
Former youth football president accused of stealing $29,000 from Pinellas league

Former youth football president accused of stealing $29,000 from Pinellas league

PALM HARBOR — The former president of a local youth football league is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the group and using it in part to buy a mobile home.According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, deputies on Tuesday arrested L...
Published: 01/19/18
Rapper Kodak Black arrested in Florida on grand theft, other charges

Rapper Kodak Black arrested in Florida on grand theft, other charges

FORT LAUDERDALE — Rapper Kodak Black has been ordered held without bail in Florida on seven felony charges that include child neglect and drug possession.The Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested the 20-year-old rapper, whose real name is Dieuson Octave,...
Published: 01/19/18
DUI arrest: Tampa man mistakes bank drive-through for Taco Bell

DUI arrest: Tampa man mistakes bank drive-through for Taco Bell

SPRING HILL — A 38-year-old Tampa man was arrested Wednesday on a charge of driving under the influence involving drugs or alcohol after deputies said he mistook a Bank of America drive-through for a Taco Bell.The branch manager of the Mariner Boulev...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Police presence at Martin Luther King Jr. Day after-party raises ire

Police presence at Martin Luther King Jr. Day after-party raises ire

ST. PETERSBURG — One after another, speakers stepped to the lectern at City Hall on Thursday and described the same image: police cruisers on every corner in Midtown, uniformed officers lined up across the roadway, souring what should have been a joy...
Published: 01/18/18
Tropical Breeze patron rides shuttle to check on crew

Tropical Breeze patron rides shuttle to check on crew

PORT RICHEY — Loretta Santini was one of a small group of customers boarding a Tropical Breeze Casino shuttle Thursday afternoon as the company sailed for the first day since another of its shuttle boats burned to the water Sunday, killing one woman....
Published: 01/18/18
Police: ‘Man-bun bandit’ seen stealing packages from Clearwater home

Police: ‘Man-bun bandit’ seen stealing packages from Clearwater home

Clearwater Police are searching for a "man-bun bandit" who is seen stealing packages from a residence.Police on Thursday tweeted this video of the suspect, who is seen attempting to balance multiple packages while gathering them at a home on Majestic...
Published: 01/18/18