CLOVIS, California. (KGPE) — As Central Valley school districts get ready to welcome students this week and next week, police are reminding drivers and parents about the rules of the road in school zones.
“Slow down, limit your distractions and be aware of what’s going on around you,” said Corporal Rich Ashcraft, Clovis Police Traffic Supervisor.
Ashcraft says they’ve been getting an uptick in complaints from parents who say some drivers are not stopping behind school buses.
“You must stop when the red lights are flashing and the stop sign is popped out on the driver’s side,” he said. “You must stop behind it in both directions, no matter which way you’re going on that roadway, unless it’s a divided road and you’re going the opposite direction.”
Failing to stop when a school bus has its flashing red lights is a $700 fine.
Police say another common infraction in school zones is speeding.
“Kids may be running across the street as soon as school is over, slow down,” said Ashcraft.
When driving within 500 to 1,000 feet of a school while children are outside or crossing the street, the speed limit is 25 mph unless otherwise posted. Also, if the school grounds have no fence and children are outside, California law prohibits driving faster than 25 mph. Some school zones may have speed limits as low as 15 mph.
“Speeding, especially in a school zone, [a citation] is probably gonna start you around $230, and then it can jump up based on how fast you’re over the posted speed limit,” said Ashcraft.
The speed limit is enforced while school is in session, but applies anytime there are children nearby and on other occasions like football games or school dances.
Clovis police will have a heavier presence near campuses as school gets back in session. Clovis Unified School District resumes classes on Aug. 16.