CHP Encourages a “Safe Back to School” for Students and Drivers

In addition to obeying the posted speedlimits in school zones, drivers will need to be alert for children and crossing guards and makesure they are completely across the street before proceeding. Also, drivers should pay specialattention when backing out of a driveway or exiting a garage for children walking or biking toschool. Distracted driving (talking on cell phones, operating electronic devices, reading, eating,etc.) is often the primary cause of collisions, and more than 20% of injury collisions in Californiawere caused by distracted or inattentive drivers in 2009.

Remember to obey the “flashing signal light system” used by school bus drivers to alertmotorists of pending actions: Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is slowing down andpreparing to stop. Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped andthat children are getting on or off. Vehicle Code Section 22454 (a) requires drivers to stop for aschool bus when the bus is stopped with its red lights flashing and stop signal arms activated, andto pass only after the red lights and control arms cease operation. Drivers of vehicles on adivided highway or multiple-lane highway (designed for two or more lanes of travel in eachdirection) need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus that is upon the other roadway.Violations of Section 22454 (a) VC are not only serious – they are expensive too. The fine, withcourt assessments included, is $690.

Parents should encourage their children to always walk or bike with a buddy, walk on thesidewalk, never run out from between parked cars, and only cross the street at a crosswalk.Bicyclists should be reminded they are required to ride in the same direction as traffic, and theyare not allowed to transport passengers unless the bike is equipped with a second seat. Bicyclistsunder the age of 18 must wear a helmet.

Parents are also reminded to follow the instructions provided by each school to drop off and pickup your children in a safe and orderly manner, and to obey the direction of school parkingmonitors who are there to ensure everyone’s safety.

Returning to school is an exciting, yet hectic time for students, teachers, parents and othermotorists, which may require an adjustment in driving habits. While we share your enthusiasmat the beginning of this school year, we remind you it is the responsibility of all of us who driveto keep our roadways safe.


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