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DPS watching closely for drivers violating school bus safety laws

school bus

When approaching a bus that is displaying flashing red lights, drivers from either direction, whether behind the bus or coming toward the bus, must stop. Courtesy photo

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MARBLE FALLS — Law enforcement agencies are paying extra attention during National School Bus Safety Week, and the Texas Department of Public Safety is leading the charge.

During the week of Oct. 16-20, DPS troopers will be looking for drivers who violate laws when it comes to school bus safety, such as passing a bus when it is stopped and has it red flashers and/or stop sign activated. Troopers and law enforcement always are on the watch for such violators, but during National School Bus Safety Week, they’ll increase attention around school buses and bus stops.

“Motorists should always be alert and practice safe driving habits when traveling near school buses and anywhere school children gather, including bus stops,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said. “Texas parents can rest assured that DPS will not tolerate those who recklessly endanger children.”

Drivers who violate school bus laws could face up to a $1,250 fine or more, depending on the issuing agency.

According to Texas statute, a driver traveling in either direction on a roadway must stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped and operating a visual sign. The driver may not proceed until one of the following occurs: the bus driver signals the motorist to proceed or the visual signal is no longer activated.

If a left-turn lane divides the roadway, drivers on both sides of the roadway still must stop for school buses with alternating red flashing lights activated. However, if the lanes are separated by an intervening space or physical barrier, only motorists traveling in the same direction of the bus are required to stop.

Here are a few safety measures drivers can take to help keep children safer.

  • When driving in school zones, watch for student pedestrians.
  • Slow down and watch for children congregating near bus stops.
  • Look for children who might dart into the street without checking for traffic.
  • Know and obey the traffic laws regarding school buses in Texas.

According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 42,000 school buses transport about 1.5 million Texas children every school day.

editor@thepicayune.com