Sonora, CA — Heads up, motorists. While some Mother Lode students are already back in session, the 2017-18 school year for Tuolumne County public schools rolls out tomorrow and Wednesday as do the school buses.
Failing to stop while they have activated flashing red lights for on and off-loading of students while not only dangerous to them could set your wallet back well over $600. Tuolumne County Traffic Court officials note that violating VC 22454(a) is one of the most expensive traffic infractions on the books. Locally, the fine runs $664, which includes a base fee of $150 onto which is tacked several state and county charges.
Of course, emphasizes CHP Sonora Unit spokesperson Officer Faustino Pulido, “The Number One thing is safety for all the kids going back…so make sure that you are slowing down through the school zones and be prepared that you are going to see the increased traffic not only around the school zones but school buses picking up kids on their regular routes.”
He warns, “Remember that the flashing red lights mean you have to stop. Most of the roadways here are undivided roadways so if a school bus is stopped to pick up or drop off kids and their lights are flashing you must stop whether you are traveling in the same direction or the opposite direction of the school bus.”
Officer Pulido adds that it might take motorists a little bit of time to get used to strictly abiding by the lower speed limits within the school zones now that schools are back in session. Too, he says, extra awareness is necessary because not all school zones have flashing lights on nearby speed limit signs.
As for crossing guards, be on the lookout and be prepared to follow their direction. “Most schools have crossing guards at some points…some within the schools,” he points out. He notes, that as a few of the crosswalks do come into direct contact with busy public traffic — among these are in front of Jamestown and Columbia elementary schools — it is a good rule of thumb to be especially kind and courteous when behind the wheel in these areas.
For the list of school openings and calandars click here.