LONGVIEW, Texas — With kids back in school, the Longview Police Department wants drivers to be prepared before hitting the road.

"Leave early, give yourself plenty of time," public information officer for LPD, Kristie Brian, said. 

As you are driving your route and you see a stopped school bus, don't forget you have to stop too. Unless you are traveling on the opposite side of the street and there is a median.

"Now if there's no divided median, and it's just a turn line, then everyone has to stop," Brian said.

In Longview, failure to stop for a school bus could cost a fine of $500.

"We do get complaints from bus drivers quite often about cars passing them when they're stopped," Brian said. "Definitely something that we're going to be addressing this year. You never know when you'll have the police officer on the bus."

Once drivers start nearing schools and see either flashing yellow lights or school zone signs, Brian says drivers should be prepared to slow down.

"The school resource officers are being encouraged to get out in the school zones and our traffic officers as well, to really pay attention and deter that speeding," she explained.

If you're caught going 10 mph over the speed limit, the fine is more than $200. Over the last year, 305 speeding tickets were given out in Longview school zones.

Speeding tickets in Longview school zones
Longview Police Department

Not to mention being caught on a cell phone in a school zone is a fine of to $200 with an additional fee of $124.10.

"You have to have it on hands-free, you can't have it in your hand," Brian said.

Officers also advise people to stay focused while dropping off students.

"You have small children walking that you can't necessarily see over cars, so if there's a school zone, just slow down, pay attention."