After a year and a half in online school "classrooms", families all over El Paso are getting ready to head back to face-to-face school instruction. It's been a while since we've had to worry about school zones but they are also back in operation. During the stay at home orders during the beginning of the pandemic, school zones were only being used during hours of breakfast and lunch distribution, but that is all changing now that kids and school staff will be going back into their buildings full time. School districts are not going to be offering online learning so all schools will be in operation.

There are a couple of school districts that are back in school already and EPISD, YISD, and the rest of the local school districts will be heading back next week. I asked the El Paso Police Department a few years back about whether or not you could get a ticket in a school zone during the summer or if it wasn't apparently clear if the school was in session. They said:

“If the sign is flashing or the sign is posted, obey the sign. Some of these schools have the signs up because of extra-curricular activities, i.e. band, soccer practice, football practice, etc…".

School zone speed limit sign in front of trees
Garrett Aitken

So it looks like the best thing to do is follow the school zone speed limit no matter what. It's going to keep kids safe and that's reason enough. Here are some more tips to remember:

1. Pay attention - Stay off cellphones and watch out for buses and kids.
2. Teach your kids - Parents, remind your kids to cross only in at intersections and designated crosswalks, make eye contact with drivers before crossing, and look before getting out of your vehicle.
3. Speed kills - Make sure you go the speed limit.
4. Don't pass in school zones - Passing means you can't break the plane of the car in front of you. If your car breaks that plane, you could get a ticket. I've gotten a ticket before because the officer said he saw my car accelerate. Just don't pass and follow the speed limit.
5. Don't pass school buses - If a school bus has its stop sign sticking out of the driver's side, you need to stop, no matter what time of day it is.

Police Officer Writing Ticket

You could pay a pretty hefty fine if you break the law in a school zone:

Passing in School Zone- $210.
Speeding in School Zone – $285.
Failure to Yield Right Of Way – $210
Disobeying School Crossing Guard – $170
Texting or Talking on a Cell Phone In A School Zone – $116

Let's keep our kiddos safe this school year.

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Data for this list was acquired from trusted online sources and news outlets. Read on to discover what major law was passed the year you were born and learn its name, the vote count (where relevant), and its impact and significance.

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