Law enforcement and local school officials partnered up to spread awareness on safe-driving practices around school buses in an effort called, “Red Means Stop”. The press conference was held at Clovis Unified Bus Yard (Herndon and Sunnyside avenues) on Thursday, Aug. 8.
In order to prevent accidents during school hours, specifically around bus loading zones, the local community must step up.
Lisa Kroeker, driver instructor at Clovis Unified shared some frightening statistics from when CUSD did an illegal red-light passing survey with the California Department of Education
Together back in April, they surveyed around 5,000 out of the 24,000 busses operating on a daily basis in the state.
“Within the 5,000 busses, we had 26,155 red-light runners,” Kroeker said. “That is a large number, that is too big. We really want to get the message out to everybody that if you see the red lights flashing on the school bus, stop and let the driver and the students do what they need to do.”
With an increasing number of incidents that involve ignoring flashing red lights, Thursday’s presentation looks to put a stop to those issues.
“Like any other time, a red light means stop and the same thing applies for a school bus, but for many other factors. One, you’ve got kids coming on and off. The worst thing in the world is to injure a child, hurt a school bus driver or hurt yourself,” California Highway Patrol Officer Traci Gallian.“The second thing is the fines associated with running a red light, it’s going to be the same kind of fine. The bus drivers give you ample time.”
The CUSD bus drivers are being told safe practices as well. The only way to stop the issue is by having everyone on the same page and that includes drivers, local law enforcement and school officials.
CUSD bus driver Steven LaGoe, a driver for the past 8 years thinks people need to show more caution around school zones and bus drops not only for their own safety, but for the kids that take the bus and the men and women who drive them.
“It’s hugely important, if people are continually running red lights and they aren’t doing what we are asking to do out there, then you put kids in danger, the bus in danger and yourself,” LaGoe said. “We just try to do exactly what we’ve been trained to do, but we also will get the police involved if we do encounter an unruly driver. We have red-light runner slips that we fill out and we are always communicating with our trainers and management so they understand that this is an issue we are having out there.”