Drivers in Central Texas are not obeying school bus laws
Central Texans are passing stopped school buses at an alarming rate.
Austin ISD police say their stop arm cameras caught between 900 and 1,000 violators during the first week of school. Those numbers are put into perspective when compared to the 6600 citations that were issued over the course of the entire school year last year.
What makes matters worse is that a number of children have been injured already this school year by reckless drivers ignoring school bus laws.
Two children were hit over the course of 24 hours in Austin. On August 29th, a 12 year old boy was rushing to cross a crosswalk in front of a stopped school bus when a truck that was making a right hand turn and struck the young boy.
On August 30th, a 17 year old boy was struck by the driver of a truck who failed to obey the school bus stop sign. According to local news reports, the 17 year old driver of the truck was unaware that she was supposed to stop for the bus when on the opposite side of the road from the bus.
On September 14th, a 5th grade student was hit by a car while boarding a school bus is Wilson County. According to the Floresville ISD, the vehicle struck the student when it passed the stopped bus on the shoulder of the highway. The student was taken by air ambulance to San Antonio for treatment.
Police Crack Down
Drivers across Central Texas are being urged to obey school bus laws that are in place in order to protect school aged children.
According to AISD Police Chief Eric Mendez, many violations come from confusion over whether a driver knows to stop, particularly if they are driving on the opposite side of the road, as was the case with the 17 year old boy hit in Austin.
“If there’s no divider, if there’s no median, you are required to stop for the school buses,” Mendez said.
At least 15 states in the U.S. allow cameras to be mounted outside school buses to record motorists illegally passing. Last January, Austin, Texas added cameras — on both the front and back of the buses.
As required by the law, anyone caught passing a school bus with its stop-arm out will face a $300 fine.
“We’ll continue enforcement. We have all the officers and all out school officers assigned out, watching school zones, bus stops and intersections to try to enforce that,” Mendez said.
Important Safety Tips For Your Children
Another way to ensure that your child is safe while entering and exiting a school bus is to communicate to them how to properly enter and exit the bus.
- When loading or unloading a school bus, always wait for the driver’s signal and or instruction.
- If you have to cross the street after unloading move 10 feet away from the bus, to the front of the bus, never cross behind the bus. Make eye contact with the driver before crossing and wait for their signal, cross to the front of the bus, pause checking traffic in both directions. Cross only when safe, never take any chances with traffic.
- Wear bright color clothing to increase visibility.
- When being dropped off, exit the bus and take five giant steps away from the vehicle. Keep a safe distance between them and the bus.
How A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If your child has been injured by another vehicle that failed to obey school bus laws, it is in your best interest to contact a school bus accident attorney as soon as possible. Claims can often be complicated to prove and pursue. Contact The Carlson Law Firm for a free consultation with a school bus accident attorney to discuss your case. We will go over the circumstances of the accident and explain your legal options. We have a team of attorneys, legal assistants, nurses and private investigators who are ready to assist you 24/7. We care, we can help.
- Written by Jill Fowler