Yellow stripes, yellow lights and yellow buses, are all warnings to drivers about safety.

And school safety is no joke.

“The biggest thing I’ve seen this year is kids run off the road while they are trying to text and drive,” Chisum ISD Police Chief Vance Boehler said.

All local school districts are reminding drivers, now that school is back in session, to pay attention when they are driving.

“The school year has begun for area students,” Paris ISD Police Chief Brad Ruthart said. “I would ask the driving public to please stay alert and brush up on school-related traffic laws.”

During traffic duty, many of his officers have seen cellphone violations, North Lamar ISD Police Chief Mike Boaz said.

“We understand everyone has circumstances that require communication, but ask that anyone that operates a vehicle within our campuses or school zones to please obey traffic laws set by the State of Texas,” he said. “No phone call, text message, email, social media post or selfie is worth the loss of a child’s life. Our students’ safety is our number one priority.”

Violators of the law can receive a citation and will have to pay a fine. According to Paris Police Chief Bob Hundley, the fine for the offense caps at $200.

Boehler said the biggest thing to remember is to pay attention. The Chisum police chief recalled an incident last year in which a student driving from Chisum High to Chisum Middle was traveling without his seatbelt on. Although the student was driving 10 mph, Boehler thought to give him a warning.

“I had my lights on, siren going and he never even noticed it,” Boehler said, adding the student had his headphones on. “He had the music up. He was in his own world.”

And that can be dangerous.

“Just pay attention and concentrate on driving,” Boehler said. “You can do everything else later.”

Ruthart also urged drivers to be alert.

“Please stay alert, and if you see something that concerns you, please contact authorities,” he said. “If you see something, say something. Knowing and following the laws of the road will keep our kids safe.”

Kim Cox is the city editor for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6965 or at kim.cox@theparisnews.com.

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