By Jill Fox
After spending several weeks on their number one goal of educating the public on safety, the Broward Sheriff’s Office in Parkland warns parents to expect citations if the issues aren’t corrected.
For parents, drop-off and pick-up is just a normal part of their day. But to BSO, some behaviors have become a safety concern. According to Captain Chris Mulligan, there are rules parents need to follow when they drop off students at school.
Two examples he gives are both intersections of Holmberg Road and Pine Island Road, and Trails End and Pine Island Road where drivers are causing multiple issues by blocking them.
The first problem occurs as crossing guards try to lead the students across the street. When the crosswalks are blocked, students have to negotiate traffic in order to cross.
Captain Mulligan said in order to alleviate this problem, drivers should recognize that if the light is yellow, they need to exercise patience and wait before entering the intersection.
Another issue during drop-off is traffic backing up in the right turn lanes. For example, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, parents are dropping off their children in the center “through-travel” lanes when the right turn lane backs up. He said drivers who allow their children to exit their vehicles in the street will start receiving citations.
“We’re not in the business of writing tickets because we like to write tickets. Our first objective is to educate the public on what the safety issues are,” said Mulligan, who stressed that BSO is at the point where they have done a fair amount of educating, and now they are moving toward enforcement.
In addition to these drivers, anyone who blocks the intersections will be cited as well.
Mulligan said there are issues which cannot be controlled, like the design of the roads, but they are experimenting with solutions, such as the bookending of cars near Westglades Middle School. This is where BSO positions a vehicle at a specific point in the line of cars to prevent additional cars from blocking the roundabout, thus, allowing the traffic to flow. So far, this has proven effective.
Parents arriving at school too early in the afternoons are adding to the problem. The earlier parents get into the car line to pick up their children, the more traffic backs up. Other causes are leaving too much space between cars by not pulling up to the car in front of them.
Mulligan said BSO would like to get the message out that they are trying to do the best they can, but need parents’ cooperation as well.
- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She is currently a Senior Account Director at Lon Haber & Co., a leading full-service public relations firm. Fox worked at NBC Miami for eight years after graduating from the University of Miami. She lives in Parkland with her husband, Brian and two children.