When it’s not OK to pass school buses

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Today there was as school bus in a pull out along East Zayante Road across from the Trout Farm Inn with flashing red lights, but no stop sign pulled out. Since it was on the side of the road and not in the lane, I did not stop, but the car behind me did. Should I have stopped? Kristie Lima, via email A: You should have stopped, said California Highway Patrol officer Evan Kapel, the Aptos office’s school bus expert. “The reason school buses now pull off the road, if possible, for student pickup and/or drop-off is to minimize the possibility of vehicles approaching from the rear passing the bus on the right as students are exiting the bus,” he said. “Not all buses have a stop sign on the left side, although most newer buses do.” According to California Vehicle Code section 22454 (a), if a school bus is flashing its red lights, all approaching traffic from either direction must stop. The exception to that rule is if the roadway has a median divide or has more than two lanes, “in which case, traffic approaching from the opposite direction is not required to stop,” Kapel said. ‘Smart Start’ to driving The CHP is gearing up for its next installment Smart Start, its free class that teaches young drivers and their parents the rules of the road as it pertains to them. Traffic collisions are the No.1 cause of death for people aged 15-to 20-years-old. Smart Start aims to help teens and their parents grasp the way poor choices made behind the wheel of a motor vehicle can impact the lives of everyone around them. Topics that will be addressed include defensive driving, California traffic laws, traffic collision dynamics, tips on avoiding traffic collisions, and DUI awareness. The next Smart Start class is 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 27 at the CHP’s Aptos office. For information and to RSVP, call 662-0511. Merge lanes landscaping project begins in April The second and final phase of the 2006 Highway 1/17 merge lanes project should get under way by the end of April. That’s when Caltrans’ contractor Watkin & Bortolussi Inc. of San Rafael will install landscaping in the area. The project includes planting more than 4,000 plants and trees along the roadside. About 450 of the replaced plant life will be coast redwoods, while another 1,700 will be vines on soundwalls. Another 7-acres of land in the area will be seeded with native grasses and wildflowers. The work will cost $695,000. Minimal traffic controls, such as shoulder and lane closures, may be used as necessary.
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2 Responses to When it’s not OK to pass school buses

  1. Joanne says:

    I used to work on Green Valley Rd in Watsonville which is a 4 lane street. On many mornings a school bus travelling in the opposite direction would stop with red lights flashing while children boarded. Are the cars travelling in the opposite direction required to stop? I asked a Watsonville police officer who came into my place of business and he didn’t think I was required to stop, but he didn’t seem sure.

  2. According to California Vehicle Code section 22454 (a), if a school bus is flashing its red lights, all approaching traffic from either direction must stop. The exception to that rule is if the roadway has a median divide or has more than two lanes, “in which case, traffic approaching from the opposite direction is not required to stop,” said Officer Evan Kapel, the local CHP office’s school bus expert.

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