Stop When Red Lights Flash

Its the Law to stop for the School Bus Red Lights ImageWhenever the red, alternate flashing lights (near the top of the bus) are illuminated all traffic must stop in both directions, as students are loading or unloading and may be crossing the road.

With kindergarten through eighth grade the driver must get out and physically escort the students.

Even though not required, we perform the same procedure for all high school students.

Please be exceedingly aware of school buses that are stopped.

Students that are alighting the bus at their stop must be extra cautious to exit the bus and walk away from it as quickly as possible.

Dropped papers and books

Please instruct your child that if he or she drops papers or books, to walk away far from the bus and get the driver's attention. Never go under the bus to retrieve papers and stand back a good distance from the bus.

California Procedure

California's procedure for crossing students at bus stops is vastly different and safer than the procedure of any other state in the nation. When a student needs to cross the road and the stop is designated as a "red light crossing", the driver sets the parking brake, secures the bus, checks traffic, turns on the red lights, takes the key, opens the door and exits the bus with a hand-held stop sign to "escort" the students across the road. The student should follow all of the directions of the driver, and not cross the road until the driver verbally tells the student to proceed. This crossing maneuver is considered most dangerous and students must be aware, alert and follow all directions of the driver.

After September 1,1992, Federal and State law requires all new school buses in California to be equipped with a stop sign on the side of the bus near the rear that will be extended at red light crossings. In addition, drivers that escort students will be required to use a hand-held stop sign. Some of the older buses may not be equipped as such, so please be aware of buses with and without stop signs on them.

Look for the Red Lights

Some of our newest buses will also have amber flashing lights next to the red ones that will be illuminated approximately 200 feet prior to the bus stop to warn motorists of the impending red light stop.

After January 1,1998, school buses are required to use the red flashing lights every time they load and unload students, not just when students cross the road. There is a dramatic increase in the number of times you will encounter school buses with their red lights flashing. As a passing or following motorist, you are required to stop until the lights are extinguished to protect the students. As you know students may act in an unpredictable fashion. Stopping for the red lights prevents a potential tragedy.

Citations for passing a stopped school bus with red lights flashing in Sonoma County is about $400 for the first violation and at least $1,000 for the second violation

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