During 2016 and so far in 2017, Texas Highway Patrol troopers have issued 1,100 citations and 573 warnings for passing a stopped school bus.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has stepped up its enforcement of laws prohibiting drivers from passing stopped school buses during National School Bus Safety Week (Oct. 16-20). DPS is asking Texans to comply with the laws, which make it illegal to pass any school bus, in either direction, when it is stopped and operating a visual signal – either flashing red lights or a stop sign. During 2016 and so far in 2017, Texas Highway Patrol troopers have issued 1,100 citations and 573 warnings for passing a stopped school bus.
"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," added 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."
During the week, troopers in many areas are riding on or following school buses to catch motorists who break the law and also are patrolling areas where school buses pick up and drop off students. Drivers who violate the law could face fines as high as $1,250.
State law says a motorist 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.
According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 42,000 school buses transport approximately 1.5 million Texas children every school day.