Avoiding school daze
by Chip Latcham
Aug 27, 2014 | 1595 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Most parents can be easily identified by their broad grins as children began the new school year.

But for those of us with no children, grown children, or otherwise not paying attention, the school year began Monday.

The flashing school zone lights do have a purpose, and police officers certainly will remind drivers why they are there.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reminds drivers to be extra cautious as school zones become more active.

Last year, 625 vehicle crashes occurred in school zones in Texas, resulting in two deaths and 112 serious injuries. Many occurred in August and September 2003.

The most common factors contributing to these crashes were driver inattention, failure to control speed and failure to yield the right of way at stop signs.

TxDOT has issued some tips to help children reach school safely and help drivers avoid costly fines and tickets.

• Put away the cell phone. Cell phone use is banned in active school zones where signs are posted and violators face fines of up to $200.

• Always obey school zone speed limit signs. Traffic fines usually double in school zones.

• Drop off and pick up children in the school’s designated areas, not the middle of the street.

• Keep an eye on children gathered at bus stops.

• Be alert for kids who might dart across the street or between vehicles on their way to school.

• Children walking or biking to school should always cross at intersections and designated crosswalks. Look left, right and then left again before proceeding.

• Pedestrians should look for traffic when stepping off a bus or from behind parked cars.

Also, drivers sharing the road with school buses always must stop for flashing red lights on a bus, regardless of which direction they are traveling.

If on the other side of a divided highway, the driver does not have to stop for a bus with flashing red lights, but still use caution as children are nearby.

Whether in a school zone or residential area, slow down. No need to be in that much of a hurry here.
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