The Los Alamos Police Department has recently received several complaints from Los Alamos Public School’s Transportation Division and parents, about motorist running the flashing red-light stop signs attached to the school buses.
LAPD would like to remind all motorist of New Mexico State Statute (66-7-347) and Los Alamos County Ordinance (38-290) that state all motorists traveling either direction approaching a bus with its flashing red lights activated, must come to a complete stop at least 10 feet prior to the bus. The motorists must remain in the stopped position until the bus has turned off the red lights, the bus resumes motion or until signaled by the driver of the bus to proceed.
After the lights are deactivated, motorists are urged to proceeded with caution, because the buses have recently dropped off children and the children may be crossing the street to make it to their final destination.
Officers from LAPD will be out on the roadways strictly enforcing this violation. Below is the exact verbiage of the county ordinance, which mirrors the state statue regarding school buses and their red lights.
Sec. 38-290. – Stopping for school bus.
(a) The driver of a vehicle upon approaching or overtaking from either direction any school bus, which has stopped on the street, 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.
(b) 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.
(c) The driver of a vehicle upon a street 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 street and the school bus is stopped in a loading zone which is a part of or adjacent to such street and where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.
(d) It is unlawful to operate any flashing warning signal light on any school bus on any street except when the school bus is stopped or is about to stop on a street for the purpose of permitting school children to board or alight from the school bus.
(e) In overtaking and passing a moving school bus, no driver of a motor vehicle shall operate or be in control of a motor vehicle in a reckless manner with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the school bus or its passengers.
(Ord. No. 74-104, § 1, 1984; Ord. No. 85-218, § 2, 1995; Code 1985, § 10.06.050; Ord. No. 02-236, § 21, 12-17-2013)
State Law reference — Similar provisions, NMSA 1978, §§ 66-7-347, 66-7-348.