Operation Best Foot Forward wrapped up its most expansive enforcement to date last Friday, with…
As students throughout Central Florida prepare for a return to the classroom, local law enforcement recently wrapped up Operation Best Foot Forward: Back to School, a pedestrian safety initiative aimed at keeping our youngest pedestrians safe as they walk to and from school starting in August. During its two-week window, officers and deputies throughout Orange, Osceola, and Seminole County issued 254 warnings and citations to drivers that failed to yield to pedestrians at 21 local crosswalk locations.
During Operation Best Foot Forward, plainclothes officers and deputies cross streets at marked crosswalks, giving drivers enough time to slow down and stop safely. Drivers who do not stop as Florida law requires face a $164 citation and three (3) points on their license. Operation Best Foot Forward is part of the Best Foot Forward coalition’s larger effort to improve road safety. Studies show that driver behavior changes when you combine these enforcement strategies, education, and engineering over a sustained period of time.
According to data collected by the Best Foot Forward program last year, drivers in Central Florida are only yielding to pedestrians in school zones 43% of the time. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report in July saying that “child pedestrian mortality rates have shown an increase of 11% since 2013, driven by increases among 10- to 14-year-olds and 15- to 19-year-olds.” Most crosswalks chosen for enforcement were within one mile of a school where students will be traveling when school starts in August. Some of the targeted crosswalk locations during this operation included:
|2023 Driver Yield Rate
|Importance of Location
|Oak Street &
|Kissimmee Police Department
|Thacker Avenue Elementary
|Located on the Emory Canal Trail near a community park and elementary school
|N. Dean Rd. & Timber Oaks Ct.
|Orange County Sheriff’s Office
|Union Park Middle
|Long crosswalk in front of a church and neighborhood where speeding is an issue
|Millenia Blvd. & Timarron Dr.
|Orlando Police Department
|Millennia Gardens Elementary
|Identified by Orlando police for monitoring due to high speed and traffic volume
|Snow Hill Rd. & Jacobs Trail
|Seminole County Sheriff’s Office
|In a school zone at the Flagler Trailhead
|Michigan Ave. & 17th St.
|St. Cloud Police Department
|St. Cloud Middle
|Safety improvements planned by FDOT on Michigan Ave. near multiple schools
In addition to the law enforcement agencies listed above, police departments from Apopka, Casselberry, Longwood, Oakland, and Winter Park participated in Operation Best Foot Forward along with deputies from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.
Attendance at these crosswalk enforcements included elected officials such as Kissimmee Commissioner Janette Martinez, Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson, Apopka Commissioner Alexander Smith, and representatives for Orange County Commissioner Gomez Cordero, in addition to eight coalition partners from local organizations. Broadcast media attendance included WESH 2, WKMG 6, WFTV 9, CW 18, TV 27, FOX 35, Spectrum 13, and Telemundo. Additional media presence in Osceola County included Osceola News-Gazette and Positively Osceola.