DPS troopers on the hunt for school bus safety violators

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Texas Department of Public Safety has designated the week of October 21-25 as National School Bus Safety week. Troopers all over the State of Texas will be urging all drivers to obey state laws by not passing any school bus that is stopped and operating flashing red lights or a stop sign.

"We just like to remind everybody to be aware of the school buses that they give extra caution and care whenever they're loading and unloading students. When the bus has its red lights activated we are required to stop, especially a lot of people are unaware that on a multilane roadway that is not divided by a barrier that prevents you from crossing those lanes both directions of traffic have to stop,"said DPS spokesperson David Hendry.

Drivers who violate the law could face fines as much as $1,250, which was increased in September.

"School buses are required to stop at all railroad crossings so if you're behind a school bus that is approaching a railroad crossing keep in mind that they will stop before those," Hendry said.

According to DPS statistics, 449 tickets for passing a stopped school bus were issued in 2012. Last year, 840 crashes in Texas involved school buses.

"At some point this time this week we're actually going to have officers on the school bus with the students and the school bus drivers observing violations. So we don't know when that will be for sure, but keep that in mind and the ultimate goal of this is the safety of the students. It's our responsibility to keep those guys safe so we'll be watching out for those violations and filing the appropriate charges," Hendry said.

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