Cleburne ISD transportation department Routing and Training Coordinator Angela Sandel shows Irving Elementary School pre-kindergarten students how to enter a school bus the correct way. This week is National School Bus Safety Week.

Drivers are reminded this week to be on the lookout for school buses and children who may be entering or exiting them. 

As part of National School Bus Safety Week, which runs through Friday, the Texas Department of Public Safety urges drivers to obey state laws by not passing a school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal. 

Texas Highway Patrol troopers will be on the lookout for offenders. According to the Texas Education Agency, more than 1.5 million Texas children ride more than 40,000 school buses every day. 

“The moment when students are entering or exiting the bus is one of the most dangerous times of a student’s trip; and drivers who pass a stopped school bus create a potentially deadly situation,” said Steven McCraw, DPS Director, in a statement. “The safety of Texas children is paramount, and DPS will not tolerate those who break the law and put our children at risk.” 

Some Cleburne ISD students this week are participating in a brief bus safety course given by members of the district’s transportation department.

On Tuesday, pre-kindergarten students at Irving Elementary School took part in the course with Routing and Transportation Coordinator Angela Sandel and Jennifer Willis, a CISD bus driver. 

“We always tell the kids, ‘Keep your eyes on the driver, because the driver is going to tell you where to go,’” Sandel said. 

Sandel and Willis also told students about the “10 feet rule” which is designed to keep children at least 10 feet from the bus and outside of “danger” zones. They also talked about how some drivers might not be paying attention even when buses stop so it’s important to always be aware of surroundings. 

Troopers this week may be riding on or following school buses to catch law-breaking motorists, as well as patrolling pick-up and drop-off points. The fines imposed for breaking school bus laws can add up to $1,250, increased last month by new legislation. 

In 2012, 449 tickets were issued for passing a stopped school bus. More than 800 Texas accidents involved school buses, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. 

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