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Sharing School Zones

A new school year is almost here, and going back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic is going to be a very different experience for parents and students alike. But one thing that will never change is the importance of practicing safe driving in school zones. Here are some tips to keep our students and yourself safe:

Expect the unexpected.
  • More children are injured by cars in September than any other month. Children crossing streets around schools do not always cross at the crosswalk, so slow down and keep an eye out for children and pedestrians in school zones.
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians, as a small, unseen child could run out in front of your vehicle at the last second.
  • If you are a daily commuter and not a parent picking up or dropping off their child, avoid school zones if possible.
Obey the law.
  • It is illegal to use a cell phone and other handheld devices while driving in a school zone in Texas. Police in Texas no longer give out warnings, and you will receive a $200-$400 ticket.
  • Be aware of school zones, changes in speed limits, and times of enforcement. Faster driving means longer stopping distances. At 20 mph, it takes an average vehicle 69 feet to come to a total stop, and nearly double that distance (123 feet) at just 30 mph, according to NHTSA.
  • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding a stop sign. It is illegal to pass through a guarded, occupied crosswalk in a school zone.
Share the road with school buses.
  • When a school bus is stopped with the stop sign out and lights flashing, come to a complete stop until the bus lights are no longer flashing, the bus has moved, or the driver signals it is okay to pass.
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus.
  • Never tailgate a bus. Keep a safe distance of two car lengths between yourself and the bus. Buses make frequent stops, stop at railroad tracks, and do not turn right on red.
Motorists can make a big difference by remembering to drive with extra caution when driving in and around school zones. Driving
at slower speeds and paying extra attention may very well save a life.

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