For parents and their neighbors in Rancho Bernardo, it is important to understand important school bus safety laws as kids throughout California return to school. We can all take steps to prevent bus accidents. However, according to a recent report from CBS News, many drivers do not always obey school bus safety laws simply because they do not know them. Now is the time to learn because the California Highway Patrol (CHP) plans to conduct pedestrian safety enforcement operations along the California coast in the coming school days.
What are School Bus Laws in California?
In short, it is important for motorists to know how to behave around a school bus (and how to obey the law). In particular, if you are driving behind a school bus that is picking up or dropping off children, or if you are approaching such a bus from the opposite direction, what does the law require you to do? The report emphasizes the importance of understanding and abiding by the following laws to prevent child pedestrian accidents and fatalities:
- If a school bus is flashing red lights, you must come to a complete stop regardless of whether you are approaching the bus from behind or from the opposite direction;
- Once you come to a stop for a school bus’s flashing red lights, do not start to move again until the bus’s lights stop flashing and the children are clearly across the street safely; and
- Know that yellow flashing lights on a school bus often mean that the bus is slowing down, and any nearby motorists should plan to soon come to a complete stop once the lights become red.
Whether Southern California drivers know these laws or not, many do not abide by them. Last October, a one-day study concluded that “26,000 motorists statewide failed to stop for a bus that was stopped to load or unload students.” To help enforce the law, CHP officers plan to ride on school buses and to contact nearby patrol units if a motorist illegally passes the school bus when it has red flashing lights. Drivers in California can be assessed fines up to $1,000.
Taking Additional Steps to Prevent Accidents Involving School Buses
What else can parents and drivers do to help prevent pedestrian accidents around school buses? The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recommends that drivers always do the following near school buses or while in school zones:
- Wait your turn whenever you are approaching a stopped school bus;
- Look in the medians to ensure that no children are attempting to cross the street;
- Be particularly cognizant of the fact that the 10-foot area around a school bus is where kids are most likely to be involved in a collision with the bus or another motor vehicle;
- Slow down and obey the speed limit; and
- Never pull into a crosswalk when coming up to a stoplight or waiting to make a right-hand turn.
Contact a Rancho Bernardo Bus Accident Lawyer
Many bus accidents in Rancho Bernardo and throughout San Diego County are preventable. If you or your child sustained injuries in a collision, you may be able to file a claim to seek compensation from the negligent driver and should speak with a Rancho Bernardo bus accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to discuss your options.
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(image courtesy of Michael Mroczek)