During National School Bus Safety Week October 21-25, the Monterey Park 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 that 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.
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.
“There is no excuse for passing a bus that is stopped with red lights,” Monterey Park Police Chief Jim Smith said. “Red means stop. All drivers should be alert around schools, especially before school starts and when classes are out.”
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.
Sergeant David Elliott, Monterey Park Police Department