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HPD Warns Motorist To Observe School Safety Zones

August 13, 2006 -- Houston area schools are beginning their school year and the Houston Police Department wants to remind drivers to use caution and slow down while driving through school safety zones, or face serious penalties.

HPD patrol and motorcycle officers will be positioned at designated areas keeping a watchful eye on drivers who are placing children at risk by exceeding the posted school zone speed limit. Motorists are advised to pay close attention to flashing school zone lights as well as posted signs. Those flashing lights are timed to operate automatically when classes are in session. Here are some helpful hints that will aid motorists to keep our children safe as they begin the school year.

* Drivers should be observant of children as they walk or ride their bikes to and from school.

* Watch for flashing yellow lights in school zones that are activated when classes are in session.

* Be aware of school signs that give the time the zones are in effect.

* Motorists need to be conscious of school buses as they stop to pick up and drop off children going to and from school.

* If caught passing a stopped school bus with the red lights flashing, motorists face a fine from $200 to a maximum of $1,000. A second offense could revoke the violator's driver*s license for up to six months.

* Motorists who exceed the speed limit by one to ten miles in a school zone could be fined from $200 to $310.

* Teach your child not to run from or play between parked cars.

* Parents should teach their children how to properly cross a street.

* Take the time to report any inoperable flashing school zone beacon lights by
calling 311.

Motorists should assume that all schools, both public and private, have speed restrictions and therefore should slow down. "We're warning motorists to slow down and take those few extra seconds it takes to go through a school zone and allow our children to get to and from school safely," said HPD Traffic Division Sergeant A.J. Washington.

NJM/JFC 8-13-06

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division a 713-308-3200.