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School Bus Safety in Rural Areas

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Drivers who fail to obey school bus stop signs could face a fine of up to $700. 

Since 2016, the DPS has issues 1100 tickets to drivers who fail to stop for a school bus. 

The DPS and other law enforcement carry out sting operations to ticket drivers who fail to obey the traffic laws related to school buses. Troopers will even ride on school buses to catch drivers in the act. 

It is illegal to pass any school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal – either flashing red lights or a stop sign.

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

“Ensuring our students have a safe trip to and from school is a commitment the Texas Education Agency shares with the Texas Department of Public Safety,” said Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath. “We commend the dedication of our Texas Highway Patrol, as well as local law enforcement, during National School Bus Safety week and throughout the year in working to keep our students safe.”

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.

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

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