Back-to-school: teens warn drivers to slow down

St. Petersburg, Florida – Less than a week before the school year begins, a group of teens decided to take safety into their own hands by urging drivers to slow down.

"There's always a few drivers that aren't aware of the rules and such so we're trying to get people acclimated to slowing down and being cautious of their driving," said Heaven Taylor-Wynn, a 17-year-old with the LiveFree! Coalition.

While the group commonly raises awareness for substance abuse, it decided to take up the issue of drivers speeding through school zones as kids ready to head back to the classroom.

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But even before the teens decided to take a stand, it was top of mind for Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala.

She wrote this letter in May to the Florida Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles that asked that it begin collecting data of traffic-related crashes in and around school zones.

"We don't know if we need more signage. We don't know if we need flash lights. This will tell us wow there really is a serious problem," she told 10 News Tuesday evening.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that in 2012, speeding was contributing 30 percent of all fatal crashes with 10,219 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.

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While police will be out on the first day of school next week, the kids want to make sure the message sticks even when no one is watching.

"I wanted to make sure that I could do something in might community to make sure people know the dangers," said Taylor-Wynn.

The new school year begins in Pinellas, Hernando, Pasco, Polk, Manatee and Sarasota Counties on Monday, while Hillsborough County students return on Tuesday.

Citrus County Public Schools are already back in session.


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