Summer is still months away, so it’s still worth reminders that you can’t drive around school buses the way you drive around cars. In fact, that’s the law.
If you’re driving and approach a school bus which has stopped to allow kids to get on or off, and the bus is displaying a stop sign (usually lowered near the driver’s side) or a signal light, you must stop too. That’s true whether you’re in front of the bus or behind it, going in one direction or the other.
When boarding is complete and the bus no longer displays a stop sign or a signal light, you can proceed. You also can feel free to proceed when the bus starts moving, or when the bus driver signals you that it’s all right.
Even then, of course, you must be careful. Children who just got off a bus may forget their own safety lessons and dart across the street. Make sure all children are safely off the street before resuming your course, and even then, proceed slowly.
Besides, if you fail to follow state law which requires you to stop when children are getting on or off a school bus, you can be fined as much as $1,250.
Not only that, but fines for any violation, such as speeding, are doubled in school zones.
There is one exception: If the street is divided by a median, and your vehicle and the school bus are on opposite sides, you can legally proceed even though the bus is loading or unloading.
The law is designed for the many Texas school children who ride buses to and from school each today of the school year. How many? An estimated 1.5 million Texas children use one of the state’s more than 40,000 school buses.
Also be careful when school buses are in motion. In a recent year, Texas school buses were involved in 840 collisions. Don’t be the driver of a vehicle which crashes into them.
And don’t forget that Texas school buses are required to stop before proceeding at all railroad crossings, even if no train is approaching. You are not required to stop at a railroad crossing just because a bus has stopped, unless you’re immediately behind it, of course.
Be a safe driver, and do your part to help Texas children get to school on time — and safely.