Some Texas troopers will give up patrol cars and instead ride school buses in a child safety effort.
The Texas Department of Public Safety says the plan is part of National School Bus Safety Week, which began Monday and runs through Friday.
It's illegal in Texas to pass any school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal - either flashing red lights or a stop sign. Troopers will be watching for drivers who violate the law, which could lead to fines of up to $1,250.
A DPS statement says troopers in parts of Texas will be riding on or following school buses to catch violators.
Texas troopers, during 2015 and so far in 2016, have issued nearly 1,100 tickets for illegally passing a stopped school bus.
Top tips for school bus safety:
- Walk with your kids to the bus stop and wait with them until it arrives. Tell kids to stand at least three giant steps back from the curb as the bus approaches and board the bus one at a time.
- Teach kids to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting off and never to walk behind the bus.
- If your child needs to cross the street after exiting the bus, he or she should take five giant steps in front of the bus, make eye contact with the bus driver and cross when the driver indicates it's safe. Teach kids to look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
- Instruct younger kids to use handrails when boarding or exiting the bus. Be careful of straps or drawstrings that could get caught in the door. If your children drop something, they should tell the bus driver and make sure the bus driver is able to see them before they pick it up.
- Drivers should always follow the speed limit and slowdown in school zones and near bus stops. Remember to stay alert and look for kids who may be trying to get to or from the school bus.
- Slow down and stop if you're driving near a school bus that is flashing yellow or red lights. This means the bus is either preparing to stop (yellow) or already stopped (red), and children are getting on or off.