DPS troopers will ride on school buses to enforce safety laws

Some state troopers will be ditching their patrol cars and hitching rides on school buses this week, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced.

An unspecified number of Troopers are riding with students at various locations around the state as a part of National School Bus Safety Week, DPS trooper Lonny Haschel said.

Troopers will watch for motorists who don't obey the buses' flashing lights when stopped, according to a DPS release. The troopers will work in pairs, with one riding the bus and another trailing the bus in a patrol car, Haschel said.

If there's a violation, the trooper on the bus will call the other officer with a description and the vehicle will be stopped, Haschel said.

"Loading and unloading are the most dangerous times for students who ride buses when its red alternating flashing lights are on," DPS Assistant Director David Baker said in the release. "We'll have Highway Patrol troopers riding random school buses across the state, and we'll issue citations to drivers who violate the law."

Violations can carry a fine up to $1,000, he said.

Also, the agency is trying to educate bus passengers and drivers about ways to reduce accidents, Hashel said.

"School buses account for less than one half of 1 percent of all crashes and are the safest way to transport those kids," he said.

An estimated 39,500 buses are operated in Texas carrying 1.3 million students to and from school daily, according to the Texas Education Agency.