To help stop identity theft and as a service to our residents, the City of Murrieta City Clerk Department is hosting a FREE Document On-Site Shredding Event. The event will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. or until the truck is filled to capacity. Residents may bring up to FIVE banker-sized boxes per trip, to the back parking lot of City Hall.
Items that may be included are paper documents such as legal, medical, financial, tax, bank, photos, and credit card statements (no need to remove staples or paper clips). Residents may also bring credit cards and CDs. No businesses please.
For more information on this event, please call (951) 461-6013.
This month I would like to talk about a California Vehicle Code Law we have had on the books for a while now, but still provides much confusion among drivers in California. This law has to do with stopping for a school bus with its red lights flashing.
Let’s first look at the school bus driver’s responsibilities when approaching a designated pick-up/drop-off point for children. The Vehicle Code requires the driver to activate the flashing amber warning light system beginning 200 feet before the bus stop where children are to be loaded or unloaded. As the school bus comes to a stop, the flashing red signal lights are to be illuminated, and if the bus is equipped the stop signal arm, it must be displayed until the loading or unloading is completed.
As a motorist, the flashing amber lights should be treated as an amber traffic control signal. You should begin applying your brakes to come to a stop. If you see the flashing amber lights and try to “beat” the imminent red lights, you could at the very least get a very expensive traffic citation, and at the worst be involved in a tragic traffic accident with a child.
The confusion for most motorists I speak with lies in when you have to, and when you do not have to stop for these red lights. Unfortunately, I have witnessed motorists panic at the mere sight of a school bus displaying these red lights, slam on the brakes and be involved in a traffic accident on a roadway that did not require them to stop. I have also spoken with motorists who drive right by a school bus with red lights flashing thinking the lights do not apply to them on that particular road. So let’s try to clear this up!!
The law is really pretty simple if you follow a few guidelines. Attached is a diagram created by Motor Officer Metoyer that will help clear up a lot of the confusion.
When meeting or passing a school bus from the opposite direction on a two lane highway, as depicted in the drawing…………..you must stop going in either direction when you observe flashing red lights.
When meeting or passing a school bus from the opposite direction driving on a multi lane or divided highway as depicted in the drawing……. you must stop going in the same direction when you observe flashing red lights, but do not have to stop when going the opposite direction.
As a side note please remember not all buses are equipped with a stop sign arm that protrudes from the bus. The flashing red lights are regulatory and sufficient for requiring a vehicle to stop. Only the newer buses are equipped with both lights and a stop sign.
So in a nutshell, you must always stop when overtaking a school bus from the same direction with red lights flashing regardless of the type of roadway you are driving on.
If you approach the school bus from the opposite direction the bus is traveling, and are on a multi lane or divided highway you do not need to stop. You only need to stop on a two lane roadway when traveling the opposite direction.
This law can be confusing and I hope this months article has made it a little easier to understand. The fines for violating this law are very steep starting around $695.00 for the first offense and going up to over $1,000.00 and a one-year driver’s license suspension for the third offense. From my experience in traffic court testifying to this violation, the courts take a very dim view of motorists violating this law as it puts kids in real danger. Please keep a heads up for those school buses and pay attention to what they are doing as they make their rounds in our city.
I welcome your questions and suggestions for future articles and can be contacted directly at the Murrieta Police Department at 951-461-6302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.