New School Year, New Laws: Three School Zone Violations To Avoid Making

With the start of the new school year, the Harris County Sheriff's Office is making sure motorists are following school zone laws: obeying the speed limit, stopping for school buses loading and unloading, no talking or texting on your mobile phone.

Law enforcement is focusing on school zones with the start of the new school year.

Speaking to reporters at an elementary school in far west Houston, Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said in the first full week of the school year, more than 250 citations were written to motorists for different violations, ranging from speeding to improper lane changing.

“You gotta remember also, a lot of our kids come to school in a bus. And we write tickets because people failed to recognize that when the red lights are flashing and the stop sign has been activated on a school bus, that you are required by law to stop.”

Some of the new measures that came out of the recent legislature affect the use of cell phones in school zones.

“You can use your hands-free devices, but to actively use a cell phone while in a school zone, will cost you a ticket no matter where you are at. It’s not now regulated to individual cities, but now it is a state law.”

There are exceptions for stopped vehicles and emergency calls. Garcia says drivers will also be cited for infractions not related to school zones.

“If you’re coming through here without your motor vehicle registration being current, if your inspection sticker is not current, if your vehicle is not in proper operating condition, we are going to be alert to all violations, especially as they relate to school zones.”

The fine for passing a stop sign or a school bus with its lights flashing has gone up by as much as $300 dollars.