DALLAS (KDAF) — The time has finally come, back-to-school season. North Texas families are sending their children back to school these next few weeks and organizations around the state are giving out great advice to help parents and children adjust to this new season.

Including the Texas Department of Public Safety, which has just released some tips and resources ahead of the new school year.

“Heading back to school is such an exciting time and we all need to work together to ensure everyone stays safe,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said in a news release. “Please, be cautious and do your part by talking to your kids about safety, reporting suspicious activity and by following traffic laws in and around school zones.”

Tips

  • Give students extra room and don’t assume they are paying attention to traffic. Students are frequently distracted by mobile devices or listening on electronic devices and may not be paying attention to their surroundings.
  • Don’t block a crosswalk when stopped at a red light or stop sign.
  • Follow the directions of school crossing guards.
  • Watch for children on bicycles traveling to and from schools.
  • Reduce your speed when you spot a school bus and know children may unexpectedly step into the road without checking for oncoming traffic.
  • Be careful around railroad crossings. School buses are legally required to stop at them.
  • Know laws regarding school buses. According to Texas law, if a bus has alternating flashing red signals visible from the front or rear, drivers MUST stop before reaching the bus. Drivers can only proceed if the flashing lights are no longer activated, the driver signals you to proceed or the bus has resumed driving. Approaching drivers do NOT have to stop for a school bus that is operating a visual signal if the road is separated by a physical barrier or an intervening space. If a highway is only divided by a left-turn lane, it is not considered divided and drivers must stop for school buses.
  • Drivers who illegally pass a school bus face fines up to $1,250 for the first offense. For people convicted of the offense more than once, the law allows for the person’s driver license to be suspended for up to six months. A ticket for this offense cannot be dismissed through defensive driving. Criminal charges are possible if a driver causes someone serious bodily injury.
  • Always obey speed limits and traffic laws in school zones.
  • Remember, texting while driving is illegal in Texas.

Programs

  • iWatchTexas: report suspicious activities in schools and communities in order to help prevent dangerous attacks. You can report tips on their website or by calling 844-643-2251. Officials say this program is not for emergencies. If there is an emergency, call 911
  • The Texas School Safety Center: part of Texas State University, this program offers resources on school safety for parents and members of the school system. Officials say it was designed to be a central location for research, training and technical information for all school districts, charter schools and community colleges in the state
  • Active School Shooter Alert System: This alert system is designed to notify people in close proximity to an active school shooter situation

For the full report from the Texas DPS, click here.