Red lights

Drivers are required by law to stop for school buses that have activated their flashing red lights and/or stop sign arm.

As part of its ongoing efforts to improve pedestrian safety throughout the state, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will be conducting a school bus pedestrian safety enforcement operation focusing on motorists who fail to stop for a school bus with its activated flashing red lights and extended stop arm (if equipped). The enforcement operation will take place on Monday, Sept. 9, in San Bernardino within San Bernardino County.

The California Association of School Transportation Officials reached out to the CHP for assistance concerning school bus pedestrian safety. The school bus officials provided the results of the 2016 annual California Department of Education School Bus Illegal Passing Driver Survey. The one-day survey of 137 school districts and nine school bus contractors revealed that throughout the state, over 26,000 motorists failed to stop for a school bus that was stopped to load or unload pupils. As a staunch leader in traffic safety, the CHP answered the call by initiating school bus pedestrian safety enforcement operations.

During the enforcement operations, CHP officers will ride as passengers on school buses and actively watch for motorists who fail to stop for a school bus with its flashing red lights activated and stop arm extended (if equipped).

The officers will be in communication with CHP patrol vehicles in the proximity of the school bus. Drivers who are observed illegally passing a school bus during the safety operation will be stopped by an officer and issued a warning or traffic citation.

This project is designed to educate and remind motorists, parents and students of the importance of school bus pedestrian safety. This message will be conveyed by distributing school bus pedestrian safety tip cards, posters displayed at schools and in video clips posted on social media.

The CHP reminds all drivers, when a school bus flashes red lights at the top front and back of the bus), you must stop from either direction until the children are safely across the street and the lights stop flashing. The law requires you remain stopped as long as the red lights are flashing. If you fail to stop, you may be fined up to $1,000, and your driving privilege could be suspended for one year. Yellow flashing lights on a school bus warn a driver to slow down and prepare to stop. If the school bus is on the other side of a divided or multilane highway (two or more lanes in each direction), you do not need to stop.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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