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School Zone Safety

The end of summer means millions of Texas children have or will soon return to school. Drivers (on the job or off the job) need to be extra cautious as school zones become more active.
The end of summer means millions of Texas children have or will soon return to school. Drivers (on the job or off the job) need to be extra cautious as school zones become more active.

In 2017, 811 vehicle crashes occurred in school zones in Texas, resulting in 2 deaths and 30 serious injuries. The most common causes of these crashes were entirely preventable: 1) failure to control speed, 2) driver inattention and 3) failure to yield right of way--private drive.

Following these simple tips can help Texas children reach school safely and help drivers avoid costly fines and tickets. We urge drivers to slow down, pay attention and follow traffic laws as the new school year begins. School bus drivers do everything they can to keep children safe, but we must all make an effort to drive safely around school buses. Parents and children walking to school should be alert at all times, and only cross the street at intersections and designated crosswalks.

Tips for Driving in School Zones

  • Remain alert at all times.
  • Put away your cell phone. Cellphone use is banned in active school zones and violators face fines of up to $200 in school zones where signs are posted.
  • Always obey school zone speed limit signs. Remember, traffic fines usually double in school zones.
  • Drop off and pick up your children in your school&™s designated areas, not the middle of the street.
  • Keep an eye on children gathered at bus stops. &¢ Be alert for children who might dart across the street or between vehicles on their way to school.
  • Obey all traffic rules, signs, and signals.
  • As always, stay away from alcohol and/or drugs, including prescribed and over-the-counter medication which may impair driving. They impact your ability to remain alert and affect your decision-making, reflexes and reaction time.
  • Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.
  • Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
Learn and obey the school bus laws in your State, as well as the "flashing signal light system" that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions:
  • Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.

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