DPS Reminds Drivers to Use Caution As New School Year Begins
AUSTIN August 20, 2015 – As Texas students head back to school, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding Texans to watch for children who are walking to and from school or waiting for buses. Drivers should be especially cautious around school buses – which make frequent stops – and always follow traffic laws related to school buses and school zones.
“DPS urges Texas drivers to use extra caution on the roadways in their communities as the academic year gets underway,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “DPS will not tolerate motorists who disregard school zone speed limits or illegally pass stopped school buses – these reckless drivers not only break the law, but they put our children in danger.”
One of the most dangerous times of a student’s trip on a school bus is when they are entering or exiting the bus. Drivers are urged to slow down and pay attention in school zones since children may step into a roadway without checking for oncoming traffic.
State law requires that approaching drivers stop when a bus is stopped and operating a visual signal – either red flashing lights or a stop sign. 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 considered separated, and drivers must stop for school buses.)
Drivers who illegally pass school buses face fines up to $1,250 for a first offense. For individuals convicted of this offense more than once, the law allows DPS to suspend the driver license for up to six months. (A ticket for illegally passing a school bus cannot be dismissed through defensive driving.)