For Immediate Release:
Oct. 21, 2019

Contact:
Tim Weisberg
OTS Marketing and Public Affairs
timothy.weisberg@ots.ca.gov
(916) 509-3020

Drivers Asked to “Stop On Red” During School Bus Safety Week

Elk Grove, Calif. – The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is supporting efforts to promote the safety of children riding a school bus.

This week (Oct. 21-25) is National School Bus Safety Week, and the OTS is asking drivers to be extra careful around schools and watch for children boarding or exiting a bus.

“Children should feel safe getting onto or off the bus,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “Drivers should always be watching for people walking or on a bike, but especially around schools and when children are at a bus stop,”

The OTS provides funding for the California Highway Patrol’s “Vehicles Illegally Passing a School Bus” (VIPS) enforcement project. During these enforcement activities, CHP officers will ride on school buses and patrol bus routes looking for cars that do not stop for buses with their flashing red lights on.

While riding the bus is the safest way for children to get to and from school – about 70 times safer than traveling by car – many drivers illegally pass school buses that are stopped with their red lights on. According to a 2016 one-day survey of 137 school districts and nine school bus contractors, more than 26,000 drivers did not stop for a bus loading or unloading children.

California law requires drivers to stop in both directions when a school bus has flashing red lights on. Drivers must stay stopped until the red lights are off.

Drivers who illegally pass a bus face up to a $1,000 fine and could have their license suspended for one year. A school bus will turn on flashing yellow lights to warn drivers to slow down and be ready to stop.

If the school bus is on a street with a raised or center median, or with more than two lanes in each direction, drivers on the opposite side of the street do not need to stop.

The OTS administers funding for traffic safety programs statewide with the goal of reducing crashes that result in deaths, injuries, and economic losses. The OTS is a department under the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).