Next week, extra police officers will be on the roads keeping an eye out for drivers putting kids’ lives in danger as they head back to school.

While it’s illegal to be on your cell phone while driving in school zones in Texas, officers in Houston have not been able to enforce that.

According to TxDOT’s most recent statistics, there were more than 600 crashes in school zones around the state, with 21 people seriously hurt. About one-sixth of those happened around the start of school. It's a problem both drivers and school officials say they can't fix without your help.

"The kids, they keep you on your toes!"

After 27 years behind the wheel, Houston Independent School District bus driver Carla Lewis has just about seen it all.

"Same thing, just different children!” laughed Lewis.

However, in the upcoming school year, both Lewis and those kids will be seeing something completely different.

The district is adding 44 new school buses with major safety upgrades to its fleet of roughly 1,100 buses. One of the biggest differences: three-point seatbelts that go over the lap and the shoulder, plus seven cameras with video and audio to keep an eye on students and the traffic around the bus.

By law drivers must stop when they see the stop sign on the side of the bus if they’re driving behind it in any lane. Same goes for drivers in the opposite lanes, unless there's a median.

"A lot of drivers will blow the stop sign,” said Lewis. “It's scary."

To prevent that, the new buses now have two flashing stop signs and a crossing gate, while drivers have gotten extra training.

"They make sure that before they even let (students) off, they look to see what traffic is doing, make sure traffic is stopped,” said Alan Delaney, Supporting Training Manager with HISD’s Transportation Department.

But the buses aren't the only things that have changed. So has driver behavior, with more and more people using cell phones behind the wheel. Since 2009, it's been illegal to use a handheld cell phone in any Texas school zone. However, Houston hasn't been enforcing it because the signs that display the law have not been posted.

"Until we get the signs, which at this point we don't have them, we are not able to enforce the law,” said Lt. Richard Barrera with HISD Police.

Lila Hollin, an HISD spokesperson, said that a lack of funding has kept the city from installing thousands of these signs, though the district is allowed to cover the cost if the city can’t. Hollin says even with the signs installed, it's still a difficult issue to enforce. However, she says the district's police chief does believe it would help with public awareness.Next week, extra police officers will be on the roads keeping an eye out for drivers putting kids’ lives in danger as they head back to school.

While it’s illegal to be on your cell phone while driving in school zones in Texas, officers in Houston have not been able to enforce that.

According to TxDOT’s most recent statistics, there were more than 600 crashes in school zones around the state, with 21 people seriously hurt. About one-sixth of those happened around the start of school. It's a problem both drivers and school officials say they can't fix without your help.

"The kids, they keep you on your toes!"

After 27 years behind the wheel, Houston Independent School District bus driver Carla Lewis has just about seen it all.

"Same thing, just different children!” laughed Lewis.

However, in the upcoming school year, both Lewis and those kids will be seeing something completely different.

The district is adding 44 new school buses with major safety upgrades to its fleet of roughly 1,100 buses. One of the biggest differences: three-point seatbelts that go over the lap and the shoulder, plus seven cameras with video and audio to keep an eye on students and the traffic around the bus.

By law drivers must stop when they see the stop sign on the side of the bus if they’re driving behind it in any lane. Same goes for drivers in the opposite lanes, unless there's a median.

"A lot of drivers will blow the stop sign,” said Lewis. “It's scary."

To prevent that, the new buses now have two flashing stop signs and a crossing gate, while drivers have gotten extra training.

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"They make sure that before they even let (students) off, they look to see what traffic is doing, make sure traffic is stopped,” said Alan Delaney, Supporting Training Manager with HISD’s Transportation Department.

But the buses aren't the only things that have changed. So has driver behavior, with more and more people using cell phones behind the wheel. Since 2009, it's been illegal to use a handheld cell phone in any Texas school zone. However, Houston hasn't been enforcing it because the signs that display the law have not been posted.

"Until we get the signs, which at this point we don't have them, we are not able to enforce the law,” said Lt. Richard Barrera with HISD Police.

Lila Hollin, an HISD spokesperson, said that a lack of funding has kept the city from installing thousands of these signs, though the district is allowed to cover the cost if the city can’t. Hollin says even with the signs installed, it's still a difficult issue to enforce. However, she says the district's police chief does believe it would help with public awareness.