Be Safe. Drive Smart.

The end of summer means millions of Texas children will soon return to school. TxDOT reminds drivers to be extra cautious as school zones become more active, as well as to be aware of school bus safety.

In 2017, 811 vehicle crashes occurred in school zones in Texas, resulting in 2 deaths and 30 serious injuries. The most common causes of these crashes were entirely preventable: 1) failure to control speed, 2) driver inattention and 3) failure to yield right of way – private drive.

Following these simple tips can help Texas children reach school safely and help drivers avoid costly fines and tickets. We urge drivers to slow down, pay attention and follow traffic laws as the new school year begins. School bus drivers do everything they can to keep children safe, but we must all make an effort to drive safely around school buses. Parents and children walking to school should be alert at all times, and only cross the street at intersections and designated crosswalks.

Tips for Driving in School Zones

  • Remain alert at all times.
  • Put away your cellphone. Cellphone use is banned in active school zones and violators face fines of up to $200 in school zones where signs are posted.
  • 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.
  • Be alert for children who might dart across the street or between vehicles on their way to school.
  • Obey all traffic rules, signs and signals.
  • As always, stay away from alcohol and/or drugs, including prescribed and over-the-counter medication which may impair driving. They impact your ability to remain alert and affect your decision-making, reflexes and reaction time.

Tips for Children Walking or Biking to School

  • Always cross at intersections and designated crosswalks. Look left, right and left again before proceeding. Never attempt to cross a multi-lane highway.
  • Always walk on sidewalks, whenever they’re available.
  • Look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked cars.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Never assume a driver sees you.
  • Always obey crossing guards.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
  • When walking, don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road.
  • Look for cars turning in all directions, including those turning left or right. Be visible at all times to drivers.
  • Follow all traffic rules, signs and signals.