CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - The roads in Clay County are busy with back-to-school traffic.
The county has thousands of students walking to bus stops and catching rides with parents.
In February, 14-year-old Gianna Asencio, was hit and killed by a car while she was walking to the bus stop. Investigators said she stepped in front of a car and the driver was not at fault.
Ron Page of the Northeast Florida Safety Council said it’s up to drivers to be proactive and protect children along the road.
“Defensive driving is the only way to do it," said Page.
Clay County has 40 school zones where there are reduced speeds, signage or lights alerting drivers to the beginning and ending points of the zone. Page said those are the driver's cue to be prepared for anything.
“It’s what you call ‘cover the brakes. When you cover the brake, you are prepared to stop rapidly if you need to," said Page.
Not all of the school zones have a crossing guard, so Page said drivers should be looking for children.
“Try to understand that kids are not going to do their thinking for you, you have to do it for them,” Page said. “You should be scanning from left to right with your eyes on a regular basis, every 12 to 15 seconds.”
The family of Gianna put up a sign near the spot where she was killed. Her mother sent Action News Jax a statement in hopes that other drivers will keep it in mind on the road this school year.
"I only wish this doesn’t happen to any other children. No parent should have to endure this kind of pain.
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