This information was provided by the CHP Gilroy-Hollister Area office.
On March 28, 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 flashing red lights activated and stop arm extended (if equipped) in areas of unincorporated Santa Clara and San Benito County.
As part of its ongoing efforts to improve pedestrian safety throughout the state, the California Association of School Transportation Officials reached out to the CHP for assistance concerning school bus pedestrian safety.
According to a press release by the CHP Gilroy – Hollister area office , the 2016 annual California Department of Education School Bus Illegal Passing Driver Survey revealed that throughout the state, over 26,000 motorists failed to stop for a school bus that was stopped to load or unload students. The 137 school districts and nine school bus contractors were surveyed over the course of one day.
The release states that 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.
"The CHP reminds all drivers, when a school bus flashes red lights (located at the top front and back of the bus), you must stop from 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 warn a driver to slow down and prepare to stop. If the school bus is on the other side of a divided or multi-lane highway (two or more lanes in each direction), you do not need to stop," the report states.
The project is designed to educate and remind motorists, parents, and students of the importance of school bus pedestrian safety. This message may also be conveyed by distributing school bus pedestrian safety tip cards, posters displayed at schools, and in video clips posted on social media. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.