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School is back in session, meaning it’s back to early mornings, exciting milestones, and checking off the never-ending list of after school activities. What should be on every parent’s mind, however, is back to school safety, particularly in school zones. While it may be tempting to think nothing could happen to our own children, its important to remember accidents can and do happen. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is now cautioning Texans in particular to slow down within school zones and to be aware of children walking to and from school buses in the mornings and afternoons. At Adame Garza LLP, our Houston school bus accident lawyers do not want to see any children injured this year.
When traveling to and from school, children are extremely vulnerable because they are often unfamiliar with traffic laws and can be more difficult to see depending on their size. With this in mind, motorists should be extra alert when driving in the presence of school buses, as they often make frequent stops to allow children to get on and off the bus along their route. Drivers should also be adhering to traffic laws particular to school zones and school buses.
Texas state law requires that motorists come to a complete stop when a bus is stopped and operating a signal—red flashing lights or a stop sign. Motorists are not supposed to continue on their drive until the school bus resumes motion. However, approaching cars don’t have to stop for a school bus operating a visual signal if the roadway is separated by a physical barrier or intervening space.
Drivers who do happen to illegally pass school buses can face fines of up to $1,250 for a first offense. Repeat offenders can have their licenses suspended for up to six months, and tickets for illegally passing a school bus cannot be dismissed by taking defensive driving classes. Additionally, if a school bus is illegally passed and an injury does occur, criminal charges could be filed.
The times when students are entering and exiting the school bus can be the most dangerous times during a child’s trip. With this in mind, DPS has also reminded motorists to be aware children may not look both ways when crossing the street after getting off the bus and to be very alert at these times.
If you or a loved one were involved in a school bus accident, the experienced Houston school bus accident lawyers at Adame Garza LLP can analyze the details of your case and help you obtain full compensation for your injuries. Call us today for a free consultation.