School shopping is just about over and parents are preparing for their children to go back to school for another year of learning.

Public schools in the area will be back in session and private schools, such as St. Joseph and St. Elizabeth Catholic School, have already began.

Those with school age children certainly know, but as a reminder to all motorists, we need to be mindful of the school zones and school buses.

“Let's get our kids to and from school safely,” said Cpl. Orlando Jasso with the Alice Police Department. “Watch for the kids coming and going. Remember to follow the speed limit in the school zones. “

Parents will drop off their children at the designated campus and drivers will start to see more buses in the neighborhoods and the yellow flashing lights will caution drivers of school zones in the attempt to slow drivers down.

Those flashing yellow lights blink twice a day, once in the morning and again in the mid-afternoon, to warn drivers to slow down according to the school zone speed limit, which vary according to the schools' location. The yellow caution lights should give drivers plenty of time to hit the brakes for students and parents crossing the street leaving or arriving at school.

Please pay attention to the posted speed limit in these areas and don't try to drive around the bus when stopped to load or unload children from the bus, Cpl. Jasso stated.

Each of the local schools have at least one school zone for students' safety. Most school have crossing guards to help the little ones get to and from school safely.

“Children and adults should always obey crossing guards,” Jasso said.

Don't forget that it is illegal to use a cell phone in an active school zone between the times posted on the school speed limit signs. Drivers should not be texting or talking on the cell phone unless it is with a hands-free device or they could face a citation.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, motorists who violate Texas School Bus Law can face a fine of up to a $1,000.

“Put away cell phones and watch for kids,” Cpl. Jasso said. “Drivers could face a fine of $324 for using a cell phone in a school zone and $266 any other time in the City of Alice.”

Reminder: fines double in school zones.

Law enforcement officers will be concentrating on school areas watching for violators who may put children in harms way.

“Let's have a safe and fun 2018-2019 school year,” Cpl. Jasso stated.