The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) recognizes August as Child Safety Awareness Month and is reminding motorists to focus on child safety on Florida roads.

Preliminarily in 2016, nearly 135,000 children under the age of 18 were involved in crashes in Florida, which resulted in 161 fatalities, a 32% increase from 2014. To help keep children safe in Florida, DHSMV is educating the public on occupant protection and proper seat restraints, safety in and around school zones and school buses, bicycle and pedestrian safety, heatstroke prevention and teen driver safety.

“This month, as children head back to school, it is critical that motorists adjust their driving behavior to account for more children on the road,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Slow down in school zones, follow instructions from crossing guards and properly stop for school buses. No trip in a vehicle is routine, especially with children. Children are observant and modeling safe driving behavior may just save their life down the road.”

As of July 1, 2017, the Cameron Mayhew Act increases the minimum penalty for drivers who illegally pass a school bus, resulting in injury or death, to a $1,500 fine and a one-year driver license suspension.

“Our school buses carry Florida’s most precious cargo, our children. In 2016, Cameron Mayhew lost his life walking to his school bus, a devastating and completely preventable loss. I am proud to have sponsored HB 1239, the Cameron Mayhew Act, to help prevent these tragedies and keep our children safe,” said Florida State Representative Dane Eagle.

Child Safety Awareness Month is a partnership with the DHSMV, Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Department of Education, Florida Department of Health, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and AAA – The Auto Club Group to educate the public on all aspects of child safety.