H-SANTA MARIA

Aug 21, 2013 7:12 PM by April Hansen, KSBY

CHP says flashing red lights are safety hazard at local school bus stop

Local California Highway Patrol officers have decided it's a safety hazard for school bus drivers to turn on their flashing red lights at one Santa Maria school bus stop.

It's a story we first told you about a few months ago.

Parents who drop their kids off at a bus stop on Santa Maria Way complained that drivers didn't stop when a school bus picked up and dropped off their children, ignoring the bus's flashing red lights. But after looking into the concerns, CHP says it is a safety hazard if cars stop on that busy road.

State law says if a school bus has its red lights flashing, drivers must stop and not pass, but there are exemptions.

At this bus stop, the bus pulls into a turnout so it's out of traffic, and then the bus driver turns on the red lights.

CHP says the problem is that since the bus is out of the roadway, some cars are stopping and others aren't, so they issued an exemption for this bus stop, and some parents aren't happy about it

"We are more worried about the inattentive driver since the road wasn't being obstructed at all by the school bus," said CHP Officer Craig Carrier.

He says the confusion could cause a collision, so an exemption was issued, meaning drivers will no longer have to stop for the school bus at that stop on Santa Maria Way.

Some parents whose kids get on and off the stop there say it's a bad idea.

"What if a kid has a bad day and doesn't want to get on the bus and runs out into the street and potentially gets hit or killed?" asked parent Cassie Garcia.

She is worried for her 2nd graders' safety.

"Is it going to take a kid getting killed for them to finally realize it's a problem?" said Garcia.

Officer Carrier says this was a collective decision made by CHP, the Orcutt School District and the bus driver.

They chose it over other options including moving the bus stop to inside the apartment area or removing the bus stop.

Parents were sent a letter from the Orcutt School District about the bus stop changes.

Students from Orcutt started school this week.

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