Driving past school buses with flashing red lights? Here’s what it could cost you

The Citrus Heights Police Department announced its involvement in National School Bus Safety Week, which will run Monday through Friday with an emphasis on minimizing the number of drivers passing school buses with flashing red lights.

The event occurs the third week of October each year. According to a 2016 survey by the California Department of Education, more than 26,000 drivers failed to stop for a school bus that had students boarding or exiting.

According to a news release, Citrus Heights police will increase the number of officers near schools as they look for drivers who fail to stop when a bus has its flashing lights on. Drivers may continue if a bus is on the other side of a divided street or a street with two or more lanes in each direction, but they are still encouraged to slow down.

“There is no excuse for passing a bus that is stopped with red lights,” police Sgt. Shaun Gualco said. “Red means stop. All drivers should be alert around schools, especially before school starts and when classes are out.”

California law requires drivers traveling in either direction to stop when buses flash red lights. Violations may result in fines as much as $1,000 and a driver’s license suspension of up to one year.

Mitchel Bobo covers breaking news for The Bee and is a journalism student at Sacramento State. He was born on Travis Air Force Base and raised in Vacaville.