TYLER – Troopers in many areas across east Texas will be riding on or following school buses to catch motorists who break the law. Because children are particularly vulnerable when entering or exiting a school bus, Troopers will also be patrolling areas where school buses pick up and drop off students. Drivers who violate the law could face fines as much as $1,250.
Independent school districts from Anderson, Henderson, Van Zandt, Cherokee, Smith, Rains, Wood, Camp, Upshur, Gregg, Marion, Harrison, Rusk and Panola counties have identified areas along their bus routes where traffic violations are common and have provided this information to local Troopers.
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 signal. The driver may not proceed until one of the following occurs: the school bus resumes motion; the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed; or the visual signal is no longer activated. If a road is divided only by a left-turning lane, drivers on both sides of the roadway 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 as the bus are required to stop.
(As a reminder, school buses, by law, must stop at all railroad crossings.)
Here are several safety measures drivers can take to help keep children safer:
• When driving in school zones, watch out 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.