School bus safety is a two-way street – a responsibility shared by professional school bus drivers and every motorist on California’s roadways. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is bringing awareness to the role everyone plays in ensuring students throughout the state travel safely to and from school as part of National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 17- 21.
“School bus safety is part of the CHP’s mission, and we take our mission very seriously,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. “This week is a reminder that everyone should do their part each day to remain alert behind the wheel, particularly when you see a school bus or children at bus stops.”
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 school bus drivers are trained to only turn their flashing red lights off when they are certain the children are safely out of the road and seated on the bus.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riding a school bus is the safest way for students to get to school – 70 times safer compared to other modes of transportation. School buses are one of the most regulated vehicles on the road.
On average, more than 50,000 certified school bus drivers transport more than 1 million students each year in California, traveling approximately 243.5 million miles.
To help ensure the safety of students, the CHP inspects more than 20,000 school buses annually and launched the Vehicles Illegally Passing a School Bus (VIPS) enforcement project in 2017. During VIPS enforcement operations, CHP officers ride on school buses and patrol bus routes, watching for vehicles that do not stop for flashing red school bus lights. The VIPS enforcement project also encourages people to report drivers who illegally pass a school bus – a violation that last year resulted in citations to 218 motorists. For nonemergency complaints, you can contact your local CHP Area office at https://www.chp.ca.gov/find-an-office or call 1-800-TELL-CHP.