WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - On Thursday, hundreds of students with the Wichita Falls ISD walked, rode a bike or bus to their first day of school.
As the new school year begins law enforcement officials want to remind drivers to watch for children in the early morning and early afternoon as they make their way to and from school.
DPS officials want drivers to be on high alert when driving around school buses. School buses make frequent stops and there are laws drivers must obey when traveling near a school bus and in school zones.
"As school districts across Texas start classes in the coming days and weeks, drivers should slow down and be alert when school children and buses are present," said DPS Director Steven McCraw in a statement. "Obey school zone speed limits and stop for school buses when required. Individuals who disregard the law and illegally pass stopped school buses needlessly put children in harm's way – and face significant traffic fines."
State law requires approaching drivers stop when a bus is stopped and operating visual signal, either flashing lights or a stop sign.
Drivers should not proceed until the school bus resumes motion, the driver is signaled by the bus driver, or the visual signals are no longer activated.
A driver does not have to stop for a school bus that is operating a visual signal if it is on the highway with roadways separated by an intervening space or physical barrier.
Also, by law, school buses are required to stop at all rail road crossings. Drivers who illegally pass school buses could face a fine up to $1,250 for the first offense and potential criminal charges if they cause serious bodily injury to another.