Yellow school buses on the road, children riding bikes, kids navigating crosswalks – it is back to school time and a great time to remind drivers to play it safe when driving near schools, especially during drop-off and pick-up times.
“Every life is precious, whether it’s your child or someone else’s,” said CSLEA Foundation Chairman Kenny Ehrman. “Be patient. Patience can be life-saving. Be sure your windows are clean, turn down the music, crack your window open a little bit so that you can use all your senses, slow down and expect the unexpected when driving near school campuses. Also, remember, kids learn from your diving habits, so if you have kids in the car with you, demonstrate good driving habits, such as complete stops at stop signs, no texting, etc.”
Here’s a refresher course from the California Driver Handbook from the California Department of Motor Vehicles:
When driving within 500 to 1,000 feet of a school while children are outside or crossing the street, the speed limit is 25 mph unless otherwise posted. Also, if the school grounds have no fence and children are outside, never drive faster than 25 mph. Some school zones may have speed limits as low as 15 mph. Always drive slowly and carefully near schools, playgrounds, parks, and residential areas because children may suddenly run into the street. Also, many children have not yet developed the ability to judge speeds and distances well enough to cross streets safely when cars are moving fast.
Near schools, look for:
- Bicyclists and pedestrians.
- School safety patrols or crossing guards. Be sure to obey their directions. For the crossing guard’s safety, allow him or her to safely get to the side of the road before driving ahead.
- Stopped school buses and children crossing the street. Some school buses flash yellow lights when preparing to stop to let children off the bus. The yellow flashing lights warn you to slow down and prepare to stop. When the bus flashes red lights (located at the top front and back of the bus), you must stop from either direction until the children are safely across the street and the lights stop flashing. The law requires you remain stopped as long as the red lights are flashing (CVC §22454). If you fail to stop, you may be fined up to $1,000 and your driving privilege could be suspended for 1 year. If the school bus is on the other side of a divided or multilane highway (two or more lanes in each direction), you do not need to stop.