Lufkin school officials urge motorists to use caution in active school zones

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - With crossing guards in place, drivers attentive, and all warning lights up and running, school zones appear to be off to a safe start this school year.

"It's real easy for motorists to be in a hurry, and only one accident changes everyone's lives forever," said Lufkin ISD Superintendent Roy Knight.

Knight oversees 15 campuses on a daily basis. Buses begin transporting students as early as 5:30 in the morning.

"When we start that early, it's still dark when many of our kids are first loading on a school bus. It's imperative that our motorists in and around our community pay close attention," said Knight.

Luckily, the district hasn't had any recent problems with accidents due to distracted motorists. Knight and other officials agree that blinking lights are your friend.

"That is a reminder that, you know, the speed limit does change," said DPS Spokesman David Hendry.

By slowing down, drivers are more alert to seeing children or hazards that may be in the road.

"It gives you more reaction time to see a hazard or a potential hazard. I mean, at a slower speed, you have more time to react and make good decisions," said Hendry.

Speed is not the only concern. With the growing use of technology, drivers should also be aware that cell phone use is illegal in all active school zones, with a couple exceptions.

"And that is, if the vehicle is stopped or you have a hands-free device, such as a Bluetooth," said Hendry.

Knight says distracted driving is not isolated to Lufkin.

"I'd say we have a problem in the United States with texting and driving and talking and driving and inattentiveness on the road."

Knight says the district is using the same carpool route they have for three years. His message is: school back in session, so pay attention.

Anyone who speeds through an active school zone faces a class C misdemeanor and a fine of up to 250-dollars. And, that charge can be enhanced if you cause an accident.

Copyright 2012KTRE. All rights reserved.