Rules for school zones every Texas driver should know

By Aaron Barker - Senior Web Editor

HOUSTON - Students started heading back to class this week, and that means divers need to be extra careful when driving near schools and school buses.

Here are a few rules of the road related to school zones that drivers should keep in mind.

1. Watch your speed

Look out for those bright yellow school zone signs. Drivers are required to follow the speed limit instructions posted on these signs. 

Some signs have flashing yellow lights that tell you when the speed limit is in effect, and others have times listed on the sign.

Either way, slow down or expect a ticket.

Maj. Chad Norvell, a spokesman for the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, said deputies and officers aren’t inclined to show leniency in these zones.

“It’s hard to give a learning curve, grace period, because the kids are already there,” Norvell said.

Fines start at $200.

2. Put down the phone

Norvell said cellphone use is prohibited while in a school zone. The only exceptions are in vehicles that are stopped or drivers who are using a hands-free device.

“As we all know, cellphones are very distracting,” Norvell said. “So, you need to pay attention. Make sure you are watching for those kids out there.”

3. Obey the crossing guard

Drivers can get a ticket for not following the directions of a crossing guard, according to Norvell.

He said children and parents who are walking to school need to make sure they are crossing the street in a marked crosswalk or with a crossing guard.

4. School buses have the right of way

According to the Texas Driver Handbook, the law requires drivers stop for a school bus when the flashing, red lights are activated. A school bus is only allowed to be passed when the lights are no longer flashing, you are signaled by the bus driver to proceed or the bus has resumed moving.

Drivers are not required to stop for a bus when they are on a controlled-access highway and pedestrians are not permitted to cross.

Fines start at $500.

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