TxDOT urges motorists to be on alert for kids

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 5:22 PM CDT
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LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - With thousands of Laredo students heading back to school next week, the Texas Department of Transportation is urging motorists to stay focus on the roads during the back-to-school season.

TxDot says the most common cause of crashes in school zones are failure to control speed, distracted driving, or failure to yield the right of way at a stop sign or driveway.

The agency is urging drivers to slow down, stay alert and follow all traffic laws to keep kids safe and to avoid any citations.

While it’s the driver’s responsibility to prevent an accident, Raul Leal with TxDOT is advising pedestrians to do their part as well.

“So if everybody takes a little bit more time to obey the law as far as drivers are concerned and the children to be a little bit more cognizant of where they are walking with their parents a lot of the times the we should have a safer school year”, said Leal.

Leal adds that with the back to school season, comes more traffic, so that means it might take a little longer to get to your destination.

He recommends planning ahead and allowing for motorists to leave their house a little earlier to get to their destination.

This also includes driving at reduced speeds in a school zone, stop a crosswalk and stop while school buses are picking up students.

Tips for Driving in School Zones

  • Be aware that traffic patterns around schools may have changed since the last school year.
  • Stay alert and put your phone away. Using a handheld electronic device while driving in an active school zone is against the law.
  • Always obey school zone speed limit signs. Remember, traffic fines increase in school zones.
  • Drop off and pick up your children in your school’s designated areas, not the middle of the street.
  • Keep an eye on children gathered at bus stops.
  • Watch for children who might dart across the street or between vehicles.

Tips for Drivers Sharing the Road with School Buses

  • Follow at a safe distance, keeping in mind that school buses make frequent stops.
  • Always remain alert for children around buses and remember that they may not always look for vehicles before crossing the street.
  • Stop for flashing red lights or a stop sign on a school bus, regardless of which direction you’re headed. Continue your trip once the bus has moved, the flashing lights stop flashing or the bus driver signals it’s okay to pass.
  • Violations can lead to a fine of up to $1,250 for a first offense.

Tips for Children Walking or Biking to School

  • Always use sidewalks. If there’s not a sidewalk, walk on the left side of the street facing traffic.
  • Cross the street at intersections or marked crosswalks. Look left, right and left again before proceeding.
  • Always obey crossing guards.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Never assume a driver sees you.
  • Look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked vehicles.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
  • Don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road.
  • Follow all traffic rules, signs and signals.

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