School is in full swing around the Metroplex — and so are the hectic mornings. As you rush your children to school before racing to get to work, you may not even notice you are speeding. You may also be tempted to multitask, possibly texting your office or calling a friend. But obeying traffic laws is now more important than ever with so many children on buses, in cars, and on foot travelling to and from school.
Be Mindful of School Zones
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reports that 625 auto accidents occurred in Texas school zones last year that resulted in two fatalities and 112 severe injuries. Distracted driving, speeding and failing to stop at stop signs were the most common factors that contributed to school zone crashes.
The TxDOT offers these tips for avoiding causing a car crash in a school zone:
- Never use a cellphone in a school zone.
- Go the speed limit, especially near a school.
- Comply with designated drop-off and pickup points prescribed by your child’s school.
- Expect kids to dart across the street or between cars.
Protect Kids Who Walk or Bike to and from School
If your children’s school is nearby, they may be fortunate enough to be able to walk or bike.
Walking and biking to school certainly has many benefits — exercise,
independence and the pleasure of fresh air before and after the school
day. I enjoy running by an elementary school in the morning and seeing children riding their bikes to school.
Unfortunately, preoccupied and speeding drivers can pose a serious
You can protect your children by teaching them to:
- Cross only at intersections and designated crosswalks
- Look left, right, left before stepping off the curb
- Confirm the driver sees them by making eye contact before crossing
- Obey traffic signals even if no cars are coming
- Listen to crossing guards and police officers directing traffic
- Look for cars before stepping from behind a parked vehicle or off the bus
- Wear a helmet at all times when riding a bike
Practice School Bus Safety
The Texas DOT estimates that more than one million kids take buses to and from more than 9,000 Texas schools each day. Although generally
reliable and safe, children are at risk of injury when motorists don’t
pay attention to school bus regulations.
Prevent injury to children getting on and off the school bus by taking these steps:
- Stopping when the bus engages flashing red stop lights
- Complying with the speed limit
- Paying close attention when driving bus stops where children are gathered
- Watching for children who may not look before darting across the road to catch the bus
Instructing your children to stand back while waiting for the bus and
looking both ways before crossing the street upon exiting the bus
The High Costs of Disobeying School Day Traffic Rules
Not only is disobeying school day traffic laws dangerous, but it can also
be expensive. Texas laws impose high fines and court costs for:
- Using a phone in a school zone — up to $200 in fines
- Speeding through a school zone — increases traffic fines and court costs
- Passing a school bus with flashing red lights engaged — up to a $1000 fine
Was Your Child Injured by a Distracted or Speeding Motorist?
Speeding and distracted motorists can put your child’s safety at
risk. If your child was injured in an automobile crash, Bill Berenson
can help. Call one of our DFW offices to discuss your child’s rights at a free
consultation. You can reach us at 817-885-8000, toll-free at
1-888-801-8585 or by email.