HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — As millions of Texas children head back to school, the Texas Department of Transportation is reminding drivers to stay focused and drive safe in and around school zones and bus stops.

TxDOT offers these safety tips for drivers, parents and students.

Tips for Driving in School Zones:
TxDOT wants to remind drivers to put their phones away. Using a handheld device while driving in an active school zone is against the law. Traffic fines increase in school zones. TxDOT advises drivers to watch for children who might run across the street or in between vehicles.

Tips for Drivers Sharing the Road with School Buses:

Children may not always look for vehicles before crossing the street. TxDOT asks drivers to always remain alert for children around buses. TXDOT cautions drivers to stop for flashing red lights or a stop sign on a school bus, regardless of which direction the driver is headed. Violations can lead to a fine of up to $1,250 for a first offense.

Tips for Children Walking or Biking to School:

TxDOT suggests children walking or biking to school to always use sidewalks. If there isn’t a sidewalk, use the left side of the street facing traffic. Children should follow all traffic rules, signs and signals. Before crossing the street at intersections or marked crosswalks, TxDOT asks pedestrians to put away electronic devices and distractions, make eye contact with drivers to ensure safety, followed by looking left, right and left again before proceeding.