Troopers Issuing Tickets to Drivers Who Illegally Pass School Buses

As part of National School Bus Safety Week, the Texas Department of Public Safety is urging drivers to obey the law and not pass school buses.
As part of National School Bus Safety Week, the Texas Department of Public Safety is urging drivers to obey the law and not pass school buses.

This week, DPS has extra patrols following bus routes to issue tickets for anyone who breaks the law.

Cpl. John Gonzalez says stepping on and off a school bus is one of the most dangerous times during a student’s trip.

“With drivers, there's a lot of impatience or they don't see the lights,” said Gonzalez.  “At the last minute they go around the school bus and we have children that have been struck, seriously injured to killed.”

As a Lubbock-Cooper ISD school bus driver, Chris Hoover sees cars pass his flashing lights, especially on main streets. 

“It makes me mad there's little kids that are out,” said Hoover.  “We're really, really concerned about what's going on out here.  We're talking about tomorrow's future and leaders.”

According to Texas statute, a driver—traveling in either direction—must stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal.  The driver may not proceed until one of the follow occurs: the school bus resumes motion, the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed, or the visual signal is no longer activated. 

If a road is divided only by a left-turning lane, drivers on both sides of the roadway must stop for a school bus with alternating red flashing lights activated.  However, if the lanes are separated by an intervening space or physical barrier, only motorists going in the same direction as the bus are required to stop.

Gonzalez said to help enforce that law this week, he and the rest of his troopers are watching, not just today, but throughout the year.

“The troops are out there observing the routes that they're driving to hopefully be a deterrent that people will stop when they see the red lights and stop signs,” Gonzalez said. 

Hoover hopes this week's extra patrols and issued tickets will encourage people to stop and wait. 

“To me it's very important that we get these kids off, get them home,” said Hoover.  “I don't want to have to explain to a parent why their kids not coming home.”

On September 1, the maximum fine for passing a stopped school bus increased from $1,000 to $1,250.

In 2012, the state issued 449 tickets for passing a stopped school bus.

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