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Safe Back to School
updated: Aug 16, 2011, 3:01 PM

Source: CHP

As school swings back into session, the California Highway Patrol would like to remind drivers of a few important safety tips to help keep children safe. In addition to obeying the posted speed limits in school zones, drivers will need to be alert for children and crossing guards and make sure they are completely across the street before proceeding. Also, drivers should pay special attention when backing out of a driveway or exiting a garage for children walking or biking to school. 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 California were caused by distracted or inattentive drivers in 2009.

Remember to obey the "flashing signal light system" used by school bus drivers to alert motorists of pending actions: Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is slowing down and preparing to stop. Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and that children are getting on or off. Vehicle Code Section 22454 (a) requires drivers to stop for a school bus when the bus is stopped with its red lights flashing and stop signal arms activated, and to pass only after the red lights and control arms cease operation. Drivers of vehicles on a divided highway or multiple-lane highway (designed for two or more lanes of travel in each direction) 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, with court assessments included, is $690.

Parents should encourage their children to always walk or bike with a buddy, walk on the sidewalk, 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 they are not allowed to transport passengers unless the bike is equipped with a second seat. Bicyclists under the age of 18 must wear a helmet.

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

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


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