LANCASTER – Three motorists were cited for failing to yield to a school bus and a dozen other drivers were cited for various moving or equipment violations Tuesday during a traffic enforcement operation conducted by the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station, authorities said.
“Overall the general public did pretty good,” said Lancaster Community Relations deputy Miguel T. Ruiz. “We’re extremely happy that the majority of the drivers out there today were abiding by the law.”
Ruiz said Tuesday’s operation targeted the pick-up and drop-off points along the school bus routes of six local elementary and middle schools – Piute Middle School, Joe Walker Middle School, Del Sur Elementary School, Valley View Elementary, Sundown Elementary, and Joshua Hills Elementary.
“We’re focusing primarily on motorists who are not yielding to the school bus,” Ruiz said. “Once the red flashing lights turn on, California law says vehicles must yield to provide safe monitoring of the children as they come on and off the bus.”
“There have been some complaints from bus drivers and other citizens that motorists are not yielding to the buses, which is creating a big danger for the children,” Ruiz continued.
In a recent tragic case, 14-year-old Eastside High School student Gage Rossi was hit and killed by a car as he crossed the street to catch his school bus on February 14. The car was passing the stopped school bus at the time of the collision, authorities said, but they’re still investigating whether the stop sign and flashing lights on the bus were activated. Read more here.
“[The fatal crash] wasn’t the sole motivation for this operation, we were already planning to do this operation,” Ruiz said. “We do this to remind motorists to be more aware of their surroundings and their driving habits and to obey the law.”
The three motorists cited for failing to yield to a school bus Tuesday could face up to nearly $500 in penalties for the violation, Ruiz said.
There will be similar enforcement operations in the future targeting other local schools and school bus routes, Ruiz said.