JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is stepping up enforcement of basic traffic laws due to a rise in deadly crashes in 2021. One of the most recent deaths occurred as a result of a crash with a school bus on Thursday, August, 19.
The driver of a Jeep Cherokee was killed when he rear-ended a school bus on Lee Road just outside of a Student Transportation of America bus yard in Arlington.
Sky4 aerials showed the Jeep with major front-end damage. It ended up about 30 yards from the school bus, which had no students on board when the crash happened.
JSO Lieutenant Rich Bouye said speed could have been a factor and the man’s death marked 149 traffic fatalities this year.
“That puts us on pace for somewhere around 225 to 230 traffic-related deaths in 2021. That’s 230 needless deaths too many,” Lt. Bouye said. “I implore you to please slow down. Speed kills.”
According to JSO, as of August 23, there have been 150 traffic fatalities. In the same eight-month period of 2020, there were 132 traffic deaths on Duval County roads.
JSO said the increase this year is largely due to more motorcycle and pedestrian crashes. According to JSO, the common factors investigators are repeatedly seeing are speeding and red-light violations. That’s why JSO said its traffic unit and patrol division are stepping up enforcement, with a concentration on decreasing the number of fatal crashes.
News4Jax Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson is a retired JSO officer and noted the mere presence of an officer is helpful.
“When people see a marked police car, you automatically slow down particularly in school zones or residential areas,” Jefferson said. “That police car is a deterrent in and of itself.”
Jefferson hopes to remind people in the end-- speeding or running red lights will make just a few minutes’ difference at most. For a victim’s family, however, it could change the course of their lives, causing severe stress and trauma from the loss of life. Jefferson said it’s not worth the gamble.
“Running a red light or running a stop sign, you may think that it’s clear,” Jefferson said. “Sometimes it may be clear, and you may get away with it, but there may be a time when you do it and it’s not clear, and you cause the death of someone or yourself.”
Labor Day marks the end of what is commonly known as the 100 deadliest days on the road for teen drivers. If you have a teen that is driving to school, it’s never too late to talk to them about the dangers of speeding, and distracted driving.