With the start of a new school year, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has a few tips for drivers to keep everyone safe around school zones and neighborhoods.

First, drivers should use extra caution in and around school zones and neighborhoods. Know Texas laws about driving near stopped school buses and not using cell phones when you’re driving.

DPS Director Steven McCraw said...“Heading back to school is such an exciting time and we all need to work together to ensure everyone stays safe. Please, be cautious and do your part by talking to your kids about safety, reporting suspicious activity and by following traffic laws in and around school zones.”

The DPS offers some tips for back to school safety:

Give students extra room and don’t assume they are paying attention to traffic. Students are frequently distracted by mobile devices or listening on electronic devices and may not be paying attention to their surroundings.
Don’t block a crosswalk when stopped at a red light or stop sign.
Follow the directions of school crossing guards.
Watch for children on bicycles traveling to and from schools.
Reduce your speed when you spot a school bus and know children may unexpectedly step into the road without checking for oncoming traffic.
Be careful around railroad crossings. School buses are legally required to stop at them.
Know laws regarding school buses. According to Texas law, if a bus has alternating flashing red signals visible from the front or rear, drivers MUST stop before reaching the bus. Drivers can only proceed if the flashing lights are no longer activated, the driver signals you to proceed or the bus has resumed driving. Approaching drivers do NOT have to stop for a school bus that is operating a visual signal if the road is separated by a physical barrier or an intervening space. If a highway is only divided by a left-turn lane, it is not considered divided and drivers must stop for school buses.
Drivers who illegally pass a school bus face fines up to $1,250 for the first offense. For people convicted of the offense more than once, the law allows for the person’s driver license to be suspended for up to six months. A ticket for this offense cannot be dismissed through defensive driving. Criminal charges are possible if a driver causes someone serious bodily injury.
Always obey speed limits and traffic laws in school zones.
Remember, texting while driving is illegal in Texas.
DPS would also like to remind students, parents, teachers and school administrators about some other safety tools available during the school year.

By utilizing all available resources, Texans can work together to keep our schools safe. Get more information at: facebook@TxDPS, twitter@TxDPS, Email: media@dps.texas.gov or call 512-424-2080.

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