National School Bus Safety Week (October 17-21) has almost ended, but the Newport Police Department reminds drivers to always remember the dangers of passing a stopped school bus.
Drivers are required to come to a complete stop when a school bus stop arm is extended and the red lights are flashing.
National School Bus Safety Week is a way for parents, children, teachers, bus drivers, school administrators, and law enforcement to promote traveling to and from school by bus as a safe transportation option. This year’s campaign focuses on preventing illegal school bus passing.
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.
From 2011 to 2020, a total of 218 school-age children (18 and younger) died in school bus-related crashes either riding on school buses, other cars, or on foot or bike, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
With few exceptions, California law requires drivers to stop in both directions when a school bus has flashing red lights on. Drivers must stop until the red lights are off and children are on or off the bus and safely out of the road.
“It is so important that we remind drivers in our community that when red lights are flashing, there is no passing,” Newport Beach Police Department Lieutenant Eric Little said. “Children and their caretakers are relying on drivers to follow the law and keep them safe.”
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.