As Texas school children prepare to head back to school, the Texas Department of Public Safety is asking all drivers to watch out for children walking to school or waiting for school buses and to obey all traffic laws related to school buses.
"DPS has zero tolerance for vehicles that pass stopped school buses," Col. Thomas A. Davis Jr., director of the DPS, said. "Drivers must slow down, obey school zone speed limits and stop for school buses to ensure the safety of Texas school children."
Drivers also need to slow down and pay attention in school zones, Davis added.
Children may not be looking for oncoming traffic when they step into the roadway, so drivers must remain alert. The most dangerous time of a student's journey on a school bus is when they are entering or exiting the bus, and state law requires that approaching drivers stop when a school bus is stopped and operating a visual signal, such as red flashing lights or a stop sign, Davis said.
State law requires approaching drivers to stop when a school bus is stopped and operating a visual signal. Drivers should not proceed until the school bus resumes motion, the driver is signaled by the bus driver to proceed, or the visual signal is no longer activated.
A driver does not have to stop for a school bus if it is on a highway with roadways separated by an intervening space or physical barrier. If a highway is divided only by a left-turning lane, the roadways are not separated, and drivers must stop for school buses.
Drivers who do not stop for school buses face a fine of up to $1,000. If a driver is convicted of this offense more than one time, DPS can suspend his or her license for up to six months.