With hundreds of area students returning to school this week, The Texas Department of Transportation is offering some safety tips.
Just last year, 19 traffic crashes happened in school zones located within TxDOT’s Amarillo District, which covers the top 17 counties of the Texas panhandle and 765 traffic crashes in the state of Texas.
Tips for Children Walking or Biking to School
- Always walk on sidewalks whenever they’re available.
- 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 cars.
- 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.
Tips for Drivers Sharing the Road with School Buses
- Never tailgate. Follow at a safe distance, keeping in mind that school buses make frequent stops.
- 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 Driving in School Zones
- 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 usually double 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.