AUSTIN – In conjunction with National School Bus Safety Week (Oct. 17-21), the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging drivers to comply with laws prohibiting the passing of school buses. During this period, DPS Highway Patrol troopers will be watching for drivers who violate the law and (will be) taking the appropriate enforcement action.
It is illegal to pass any school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal – either flashing red lights stop sign.
“The safety of our schoolchildren is always a priority at the Texas Education Agency. We appreciate the dedication by Texas Highway Patrol Troopers during National School Bus Safety week – and throughout the entire year – to help ensure our students have a safe trip to and from school,” said Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath.
During National School Bus Safety Week, troopers in many areas 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, looking for motorists violating the school bus law. Drivers who violate the law could face fines as much as $1,250.
According to Texas statute, a driver – traveling in either direction – 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 going in the same direction as the bus must stop.
(As a reminder, school buses, by law, must stop at all railroad crossings.)
Here are other safety measures drivers should observe:
When driving in school zones, watch out for student pedestrians. Slow down and watch for kids congregating near bus stops and for kids who might dart into the street.
According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 42,000 school buses transport approximately 1.5 million Texas children every school day.