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Heads Up Drivers, School's Back In Session

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Public school students went back to class today in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee Counties. Next week, students in Pasco and Polk Counties start the 2016-17 school year. And for students in Sarasota County, the start date is August 22.

And all of these students are heading to school in cars, on bikes and on foot. For those getting to school on foot, they might not know that Florida is among the deadliest in the nation.

AAA said the latest numbers, from 2014 show this state had the second-highest death rate for child pedestrians in the country. "Child" in this instance, means those age 17 and under. And the most treacherous times for such pedestrians is in the hours before and after school.

Lindsey Pavlick, AAA's traffic safety project coordinator, said this part of the state is particularly deadly for kids on foot.

"As far as the Tampa Bay region goes, and Hillsborough County in particular, we are pretty high up there," she said.

Miami-Dade County had the highest number of child pedestrian fatalities, with six. Hillsborough County, as well as Orange County, both reported four deaths. Three children were killed walking in Pinellas County in 2014.

Pinellas County Schools have been rehearsing for the first day of school, according to spokeswoman Lisa Wolfe.

"So we have a safety team through our transportation office who evaluates the safety of each bus route and the bus stops and how students can access the stop, including the path that they walk to the stop to make sure that each of the stops is safe for our students," Wolfe said.

Wolfe said it's only common sense when school is in to give yourself extra time to get where you are going, with the knowledge that both busses and school children will be out on the roads.

Parents of Pinellas County School students can get more information on back to school by clicking here.

I love telling stories about my home state. And I hope they will help you in some way and maybe even lift your spirits.
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