Provided by SPC
LEVELLAND – In an effort to keep the roadways safe, the Texas Department of Public Safety wants to remind drivers who travel on Highway 114 to stop for school buses that are loading and unloading children, and to obey posted speed limits.
According to Corporal John Gonzalez, Texas Department of Public Safety, the law says that drivers must stop when school buses are stopped and have activated their alternating red flashing lights or stop sign. Drivers who fail to yield can face fines from $200 to $1,000 if convicted on the first offense. The penalty for a second offense is a State Jail Felony which includes both jail time and a fine of up to $10,000.
"If the road is divided by a barrier or median, the traffic going in the same direction as the bus must stop," he said. "The traffic going the opposite direction does not have to stop."
This reminder comes on the heels of two accidents and several near misses where drivers were either not paying attention or drivers continuing on their way despite the flashing red lights on school buses. In Smyer, Superintendent Dane Kerns said there have been a couple of accidents where cars were legally stopped while buses loaded and unloaded students and other drivers have crashed into the rear end of the stopped cars.
"We just want to get the word out to let drivers know that we are concerned about the safety of our children," Kerns said. "Either some drivers don't understand the law or they are not paying attention but there have been too many incidents."
In cases where the road is divided only by a left-turning lane with no physical barrier or median, drivers on both sides of the roadway must stop for school buses with alternating red flashing lights activated. In neighborhoods, near schools, and at bus stops, drivers need to take special care because children cannot judge vehicle speed or distance.
"Drivers should not proceed until the school bus resumes motion, the alternating lights are no longer flashing or the driver is signaled by the bus driver to proceed," said Gonzalez.