The Bay County Sheriff's Office wants motorists to be more aware of slowing down and taking their time in school zones. Areas that have been quiet all summer. are now buzzing with activity.
"The first couple weeks of school is always difficult traffic wise and the monsoon season that we are currently in doesn't help the situation," said Major Tommy Ford.
That "situation" is crowded school zones at nearly every Bay County school. Parents faced long lines in the "drop off" and "pick up" lines today.
"Do you want to tell me how long you've been waiting in line?"
"About fifteen minutes," said one parent.
"About thirty minutes in line," said another. "So it's been pretty slow."
"Normally it takes give minutes, but today I guess it's the first day," said one driver.
"There was a lot of students that were probably late to school and parents who were late to work," said Major Ford.
With forty schools in Bay County, the Bay County Sheriff's Office is assisting local municipal law enforcement agencies and providing services to ensure students, and drivers, additional safety patrols.
"In the unincorporated areas of the county where there is a school, we will dispatch one of our crime prevention deputies or one of our zone deputies for traffic control at those schools to primarily focus on driver safety," said Major Ford.
Speeding in a school zone could cost you. If caught, fines double. So a $140 ticket for example will cost $280 past the blinking lights.
"So it's in everyone's best interest to keep to that posted speed in a school zone," said Major Ford.
Ford says another ingredient, making the first few weeks of school more sweet than sour, is a little patience behind the wheel.
"We just urge everyone to be patient, to be courteous to other drivers, and to realize that these first couple of weeks it's going to take a little bit longer," said Major Ford. "And add rain to that and its going to take even longer."