School zone traffic rules soon in session, and breaking them will cost more

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Increased fines for some school zone traffic rules (KTRK)

As students head back to school, it's a good time for a lesson on the latest school zone traffic rules.

You know it's illegal to speed in school zones, as well as text and drive. But the fines are about to get tougher.

"People tend to be in a rush to work and they forget about the time of the year that school starts," said driver Sharon Razman.

HPD Officer Henry Lara says in addition to slowing down, don't forget to stop when the school bus does. You'll get hit with a steep fine if you try to pass while kids are getting on and off.

"The first offense is between $200 to $1,000 fine," he said. "The best bet is when you see the school bus and you see it starting to slow down, you're most likely to see it stop, especially in a school zone area."

Speaking of school zones, there's a lot of confusion about whether you can use your phone there.

In Texas school zones, all drivers are prohibited from texting and using handheld devices while driving.

Officer Lara said, "We all want our kids to be safe, and if we can just stay off the cell phone for just a few minutes."

Fines for using your cell phone in a school zone go up on September 1, increasing to $260 for the first offense. You can use hands free, but you're advised to wait if you can.

Officer Lara says remember to obey the marked speed limit signs, even if you don't see lights flashing.

"The posted sign is actually going to take over the flashing light itself because the lights could be malfunctioning," he explained.

But if school is not in session, school zone speed limits do not apply.

One final reminder, school buses have the right of way, when flashing lights are on.
Related Topics:
trafficeducationback to schoolschoolsschool busstudent safetydriverHouston
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