As the school year begins, faculties, teachers, and students all envision a year of educational and personal success. Volusia County, however, has a bit of a different agenda for this year. Following the 26 accidents involving 27 students last year, including 2 deaths, Volusia County is focused on creating a safer environment for students.
These terrifying numbers prompted activism in Orange City amongst local government, schools, and the community in general. Tom Laputka, Orange Citys Mayor, noted the changes to the citys infrastructure as a big win to improve safety and reduce the number of accidents in school zones.
With the implementation of a new school zone, which lowered speeds to 20 mph during school-traffic hours, drivers will now be forced to take an elevated level of precaution while children are crossing the streets to head home for the day.
In addition, new sidewalks have finally been completed after months of pleas from the community. Last year, six accidents occurred in areas where sidewalks now reside. Hopefully, Orange City will see a reduction in the number of car accidents in close proximity to the school.
Greg Akin, Volusia County Schools transportation director, stated that his message has been sent to every member of the community. His goal is to spread the message throughout the district, increasing awareness and shedding light on a glaring issue in Florida.
In reference to the improvements, Akin said, Our goal is zero student pedestrian and bicycle accidents . That is our goal. We want to have a successful school year and we're asking all our communities to pay attention to our students, and asking our students to pay attention to our motorists."