EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The Texas Department of Transportation, along with The El Paso District Attorney, ESC-Region 19, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, and El Paso Police Department, are partnering up to promote School Zone Safety.

TxDOT District Engineer Tomas Treviño says: “The daily commute can have many distractions. These can be especially dangerous in school zones where not paying attention can not only result in a ticket, but someone getting hurt.”

Flyer From the Texas Department of Transportation

TxDOT says Drivers should be aware that traffic patterns, adding school drop-off and pickup instructions in school zones may have changed since the last school year.

A press release from TxDOT points out a new law that went into effect in 2021. The law strengthens protections for pedestrians and bicyclists by requiring that drivers stop and yield to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable road users in crosswalks.

The law also provides criminal penalties when a motorist fails to stop and yield the right of way and causes serious injury to someone in a crosswalk. TxDOT says the most common causes for these crashes in school zones are failure to control speed, driver inattention, failure to yield the right of way at a stop sign and failure to yield the right of way at a private driveway.

Flyer From the Texas Department of Transportation

Here are some tips, from TxDOT and their partners, for drivers, as well as kids, pedestrians and those biking to school:

Tips for Driving in School Zones
• Be aware that traffic patterns around schools may have changed since the last school year, and expect more
vehicles on the road as many students will be returning for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
• 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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