Increase Your Knowledge
August 1, 2020 - School Zone Safety
The end of summer is drawing to a close. If all goes well, schools will be reopening and accepting students back for the 2020-2021 school year. As a reminder here are a few tips and laws to remember when driving around schools and school-related activities.
School Zones Speeds….Typically school zones are clearly defined. These zones are generally located near schools where there is a considerable amount of student pedestrian traffic. There are signs posted at the beginning of a school zone with the hours displayed for reduced speeds. A normal speed limit sign is generally posted at the end of the school zone to let you know that the zone has ended and a driver can now proceed with normal driving speeds. Please be mindful of the hours and speeds in these zones as the Abilene Police Department strictly enforces these speed zones.
Passing Stopped School Bus...Texas Transportation Code 545.066. PASSING A SCHOOL BUS; OFFENSE.
(a) An operator on a highway, when approaching from either direction a school bus stopped on the highway to receive or discharge a student:
(1) shall stop before reaching the school bus when the bus is operating a visual signal as required by Section 547.701; and
(2) may not proceed until:
(A) the school bus resumes motion;
(B) the operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed; or
(C) the visual signal is no longer actuated.
School Zone Cell Phone Usage….Texas Transportation Code 545.425 USE OF WIRELESS COMMUNICATION DEVICE IN A SCHOOL CROSSING ZONE.
An operator may not use a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle within a school crossing zone, as defined by Section 541.302, Transportation Code, unless:
(1) the vehicle is stopped; or
(2) the wireless communication device is used with a hands-free device.
Please refrain from using handheld devices such as cell phones while driving in school zones as it only takes a fraction of a second for tragedy to strike. The restricted usage is for the safety of the students and the Abilene Police Department will strictly enforce this offense.
April 2020- Disregard Traffic Control Device Texas Transportation Code 544.004 and Obeying Warning Signs and Barricades TTC 472.022
There are many signs, arrows, and markings on our streets and highways. These visual signs are put in place to keep motorists safe and to expedite the flow of traffic. Disregarding a device, in many cases, will be simply ignoring a sign or signal, but it can also be turning off a road into a parking lot to cut through, avoiding having to stop at a controlled intersection or avoid a traffic signal. Disregarding an official traffic control device could result in a costly collision and a traffic citation necessitating in the paying of a fine.
It is also spring which means, on occasion, heavy rains produce flooding in our city. Various areas of our city are prone to deep water in a short amount of time. During these times the city may put out barricades to keep motorists from driving in these areas in an attempt to safeguard life and property. It is an offense to disregard these barricades and drive around them. Not only can a fine be levied, but driving around a high water barricade is a class B misdemeanor which is an arrestable offense. The offender could also be held liable for reimbursement to the city for removing their vehicle if the vehicle becomes disabled.
The Abilene Police Department asks everyone to drive safe. Be mindful of traffic control devices. Slowing down, obeying traffic signs and signals and using patience will help in saving time, money, and lives.
March 2020 - Passing Certain Vehicles or "Move Over Law." Texas Transportation Code 545.157
Conducting work on a highway or roadway is a dangerous business. Whether its Police Officers performing traffic stops, Highway Department workers doing maintenance, or Tow Truck drivers hauling away vehicles, working alongside the roadway with heavy traffic can be hectic and dangerous.
That is why Texas has enabled this critical law. The law states that unless a police officer otherwise directs you, a driver passing a stationary emergency vehicle using visual signals, a stationary tow truck using equipment, or a Texas Department of Transportation vehicle using visual signals and not separated by a traffic control device shall:
(1) vacate the lane closest to the vehicle when driving on a highway with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the vehicle; or
(2) slow to a speed not to exceed: (A) 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or more; or (B) five miles per hour when the posted speed limit is less than 25 miles per hour.
All of our First Responders, Highway Department, and Tow drivers ask you to please move over, and if you are unable, then to slow down. This will help create a safer environment for all that are involved.
January 2020 - Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) What you can do to prepare in case of an active shooter.
As many read in the headlines of Active Attacks in our communities, the Abilene Police Department would like to send out some highlights from Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, or ALERRT. These considerations are from the Citizen Response To Active Shooter Events (CRASE). You can find the course on the TEEX website by clicking here: TEEX CRASE Class
There is a short acronym to remember when encountered with an active threat.
A.D.D- AVOID DENY DEFEND
AVOID - If you can safely retreat in the opposite direction of the threat, then do so. If you are certain an attack is taking place in one area of a store, school, or place of business, then find a way out at the opposite side of the threat using whatever means necessary, such as a door or window.
DENY - If you find there is no way to escape the attack, then the next line of defense is DENY. This means retreating to a room, locking the door and turning off the lights. Use any means necessary to secure the door. If the door is inward opening, barricade the door with objects such as furniture or equipment. If the door is outward opening, try securing the door with a rope, belt, extension cords, or any other material that you can tie off to prevent the door from opening.
DEFEND - The last line of defense is DEFEND. Arm yourself with anything that can be used as a weapon like a pair of scissors, a chair, a fire extinguisher, or something that will inflict the most damage. If the attacker makes entry into your space, use these weapons to fight like your life depends on it, because it does.