Being stuck behind a school bus can be frustrating if it happens when you’re in a rush for your morning commute. But if you don’t know the rules about when to stop for a school bus in Texas, you could risk hurting a child and getting into significant trouble to boot. 

Continue reading to learn more about the rules regarding stopping for a school bus in Texas. 

What Are the Laws About Stopping for School Buses in Texas?

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), if a school bus has alternating flashing red lights on either the front or the rear of the bus or the stop arm is extended, all drivers MUST stop before reaching the bus. It’s best to stay a few car lengths back, if possible. 

Drivers may only proceed once the flashing lights are no longer activated, if the school bus driver signals that you may proceed, or the bus has started moving again.

Approaching drivers do not have to stop for a school bus if there is a physical barrier dividing the two opposite lanes of traffic or an intervening space on the road, such as on a divided highway. 

However, if the highway is only divided by a left turn lane, it’s not considered a divided highway. In that case, drivers approaching from the opposite direction must also stop for the school bus.

What Are the Penalties for Violating Texas School Bus Traffic Laws?

Drivers who illegally pass a school bus (e.g., they pass when the lights are flashing or otherwise illegally pass) may be assessed fines of up to $1,250 for the first offense

If a person commits the offense more than once, their license may be suspended for up to six months. Furthermore, citations for illegally passing a school bus may not be dismissed by taking a defensive driving course.

If the driver causes serious bodily injury while in violation of school bus laws, they may face criminal charges as well or be sued for damages in civil court.

Tips for School Bus Safety

The Texas DPS also offers several tips for school bus safety. Though they aren’t specific laws about school buses, they can help make your neighborhood safer. 

Ensure that you give students extra room when they get on or off the bus. They often may not be paying attention to traffic and are listening to devices with headphones or talking to friends instead. 

Also:

  • Do not block a crosswalk when stopped at a stop sign or red light
  • Always follow the directions of school crossing guards
  • Keep an eye out for children traveling to school on bicycles
  • Make sure to reduce your speed when approaching a school bus
  • Note that school buses are legally required to stop at railroad crossings, so be careful
  • Always follow the posted speed limits in school zones
  • Do not text and drive, which is illegal in Texas

Use caution and always assume that children may not be checking for traffic when exiting a school bus. 

Texas School Bus and Child Safety Information

More than one million Texas student passengers rely on school buses for transportation each year, and over 9,000 schools operate buses for students. Therefore, it’s quite likely that you’ll encounter a bus when you’re driving around Houston. 

Waiting a few extra minutes to guarantee the safety of children getting on and off a bus is no big deal compared to keeping them safe.

While you may be willing to wait or are aware of laws regarding school bus safety in Texas, not everyone is as patient or diligent. If you or your child have been injured in a school zone or school bus accident, you may need legal representation to file a claim for damages. 

Contact the Houston Car Accident at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help

For more information, contact the Houston car accident law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 224-4878.
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