Since the beginning of the school year, and even the start of the new semester, LAPS bus drivers have reported an increasing number of cars, throughout Los Alamos County, driving through the stop arm and flashing red lights of LAPS school buses. What will it take to get you to stop for the flashing red lights?
STOP ARM VIOLATION STATISTICS
Fall Semester 2019: 100
Spring Semester 2020: 31
Last Violation: 3/12/2020
- Daily Total: 1
- Location(s): Sandia @ 45th
- Vehicle: Blue Subaru Forester
Rules of the Road
Each and every driver can do their part by remembering school bus safety rules and tips.
- First, drive slowly and look for children waiting at the bus stop, walking or riding their bicycles to school.
- Second, know what the flashing lights indicate. A red flashing light with the extended stop arm means traffic is required to stop, even in both directions of a two-lane road. Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is preparing to stop, so proceed with caution.
- Finally, follow all school zone speed limits, look for students in crosswalks and never pass a bus on the outside of a turn.
Reminder: Practice Bus Safety
Los Alamos Public Schools is asking for the community’s help with student safety. Last semester, 100 vehicles in Los Alamos drove past school buses picking up or dropping off students. From Barranca Mesa to Pajarito Acres, vehicles of every description failed to obey the law, creating danger for students going to or from school. And, bus drivers have already reported six violations in January 2020.
“Los Alamos Public Schools wants to remind drivers that it is unsafe for students and illegal to pass a school bus when the stop arm is extended and red lights are flashing,” said Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus.
The New Mexico School Bus Law states that you must stop for a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing whether it is on your side of the road, the opposite side of the road or at an intersection you are approaching. After the school bus red lights have stopped flashing, watch for children along the side of the road and do not proceed until they have completely left the roadway and it is safe to proceed.
“The rule of thumb is, when the red lights are flashing, don’t go passing,” said Keith Rosenbaum, Director of Transportation. “We need drivers to obey the law and keep our students safe.”
The penalty for running a school bus stop arm in Los Alamos County is, at a minimum, a $265 fine and six points off your driver’s license.
Let’s work together on student safety and preventing stop arm violations. For more information, contact the LAPS Let’s Transportation Department at 663-2255.
NM State Law: 66-7-347
- Penalty: $175 and 6 points on drivers license1
- The driver of a vehicle upon approaching or overtaking from either direction any school bus which has stopped on the roadway, with special school bus signals in operation, for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children, shall stop the vehicle at least ten feet before reaching the school bus and shall not proceed until the special school bus signals are turned off, the school bus resumes motion or until signaled by the driver to proceed.
- Every bus used for the transportation of school children shall bear upon the front and rear thereof a plainly visible sign containing the words "School Bus" in letters not less than eight inches in height.
- The driver of a vehicle upon a highway with separate roadways need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus which is on a different roadway or when upon a controlled-access highway and the school bus is stopped in a loading zone which is a part of or adjacent to such highway and where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.