The Texas Department of Public Safety is reminding parents and children to take extra precautions as the new school year begins.
DPS cautions drivers to keep an extra eye out for children walking and waiting at bus stops, but, drivers should be especially aware of school buses due to their frequent stops.
"The start of the school year also generates an increase of overall traffic in many years -- an additional reason to make safe driving a priority," according to the DPS press release.
“As school districts across Texas start classes in the coming days and weeks, drivers should slow down and be alert when school children and buses are present,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Obey school zone speed limits and stop for school buses when required. Individuals who disregard the law and illegally pass stopped school buses needlessly put children in harm’s way – and face significant traffic fines.”
DPS says the most dangerous times during a child's trip on a school bus is when students are entering and exiting. DPS urges drivers to take it slow and pay close attention in school zones, "since children may unexpectedly step into the roadway without checking for oncoming traffic."
Texas law requires drivers to stop when a school bus is stopped and operating visual signals. Drivers must not proceed until the bus does itself.
Drivers who illegally pass school buses could receive a fine up to $1,250 for the first offense, and a potential criminal charge if they cause any serious bodily injury to another.