During National School Bus Safety Week Oct. 21-25, The Escondido Police Department is supporting efforts across the state to make sure children are safe taking the bus to and from school.
Held every year during the third week of October, National School Bus Safety Week is a way for parents, children, teachers, bus drivers, school officials and law enforcement to emphasize the importance of school bus safety. This year’s theme is “My School Bus, The Safest Form of Student Transportation!”
While riding the bus is the safest way for children to get to and from school, an alarming number of drivers illegally pass school buses who have their red lights activated. According to a 2016 survey by the California Department of Education, more than 26,000 drivers failed to stop for a school bus that had students getting on or off.
During National School Bus Safety Week, the Escondido Police Department will have officers following school buses on their routes looking for drivers who do not stop for a school bus with its flashing red lights on.
California law requires drivers to stop from either direction when a school bus flashes red lights. Drivers must remain stopped as long as the red lights are on. Drivers who fail to stop face up to a $1,000 fine and could have their license suspended for one year. If a bus is on the other side of a divided street or street with two or more lanes in each direction, drivers do not need to stop but should slow down and look for children.
“These young lives depend on each of us to drive safely,” Assistant Chief Ed Varso said. “Drivers should slow down when driving through neighborhoods, keep an eye out for children and stop when the red lights flash.”
School buses are the safest way for children to get to school. Teaching drivers and children to follow best safety practices will ensure that children are as safe as possible when traveling to and from school.