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Learn Rules About School Bus-Pedestrian Safety

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) recently conducted a school bus-pedestrian safety enforcement operation in the Lompoc, Vandenberg Village and Mission Hills areas, focusing on motorists who fail to stop for a school bus with its flashing red lights activated and stop arm extended.

As a result of this effort, several enforcement contacts were made and an untold number of motorists, parents and students were educated on the importance of school bus-pedestrian safety.

The CHP reminds motorists of the following safety information:

» When school bus red lights are flashing, there is no passing — children are either entering or exiting the school bus when the red lights are flashing. Drivers must stop from either direction until the children have safely crossed the street and the lights stop flashing.

» Yellow flashing lights on a school bus warn motorists to slow down and prepare to stop.

» Be alert and don’t be distracted when children are standing at a school bus stop. Children are often unpredictable and may dart out in front of traffic, not recognizing traffic hazards or risks.

» Slow down and use extra caution when pedestrians are present — especially in school zones, and before and after school.

Parents are an important part of traffic safety education. Children need to learn to be safe pedestrians as they walk to and from school and the school bus.

Here are tips to keep students safe:

» Arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes early, and stand 10 feet away from the road.

» Do not let children play running games, or push, or shove at the bus stop.

» If your child drops something near the bus, warn him/her to never pick up the object. Instead, the child should tell the bus driver and wait for assistance to retrieve the dropped object. If a child bends over to pick something up, he might not be seen by the bus driver and could be hurt.

» Remind children to look to the right before they step off the bus. Drivers sometimes try to pass buses on the right.

» If children must cross the street to get to the bus, remind them to wait for the bus driver to signal it is safe to cross. Do not get on or off the school bus until the bus driver says it is safe to do so. If a child misses the bus, she should not run after it.

» When walking, practice good pedestrian behavior and walk on the sidewalk, if there is one. If there is no sidewalk, walk single-file, facing traffic, and stay on the shoulder as far off the road as possible.

» Before crossing the street, stop; look left, right and then left again. Cross at corners, crosswalks or intersections wherever possible. This is where drivers expect to see pedestrians.

The CHP urges every member of the community to be safe and follow the rules of the road. Remember, pedestrians don’t have armor. Traffic safety is everyone‘s responsibility.

For additional information, contact the CHP Buellton Area’s public information officer Rick Larson, 688-5551.

— Rick Larson for Buellton Area California Highway Patrol.

 

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