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School year brings buses, more traffic and students — practice caution

Follow the speed limit and put cellphones away when driving through school zones. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

MARBLE FALLS — Area public schools start a new academic year Aug. 24 and Aug. 25, depending on the district, so what does that mean for your workday commute? More traffic in the mornings and afternoons, particularly near schools.

With the added traffic in those areas, drivers would be aware of possible delays, especially the first few days as parents figure out the patterns and procedures of dropping off and picking up their children.

See important dates and school information for local school districts

If possible, give yourself a little more time on weekday mornings for the first week or two as everybody gets into the new routine.

Drivers also need to be aware that the school year also means the reactivation of school zones around area campuses. Some of the speed requirements only apply during drop-off and pick-up times, while at other schools it’s applicable throughout the school day.

Many of the local school zones also forbid the use of cellphones.

Next week also means the return of school buses, so drivers need to be aware. Under Texas law, drivers cannot pass a school bus that is stopped to pick up or drop off children — typically, you can determine this by the flashing red lights or the stop sign extended from just below the driver’s window (or both). Vehicles going in both directions must stop until the bus begins moving once again, the driver signals for you to proceed or the red lights stop flashing.

Even in situations when the bus has pulled over to the side of the road and no red lights are flashing or the driver’s side stop sign isn’t extended, drivers should slow down and be cautious. It’s always best to drive as if a child is going to dart from in front of, behind or around the bus.

School buses also stop at all railroad crossings. So when traveling behind a bus and a railroad crossing is coming up, be prepared to stop. 

A new school year can mean more traffic on the road, but with a little caution and patience, you won’t end up in detention.