Won’t somebody think of the children?

Though I am a Manhattanite through and through, I did spend a good half of my tender years in a small town in upstate New York, where I learned to drive.

One of the things that everyone who has ever ridden a schoolbus or driven a car knows is that you STOP if the bus’s red lights are flashing. Yellow lights, you slow down. Either, you remain alert because children may be exiting the bus. It’s fairly intuitive. It’s also the law.

Today was the first time since moving to Los Angeles (four years and counting) that I have seen a schoolbus use its red lights. I almost invariably see yellow flashers on the rare occasion that I see a bus letting students off. The bus was on Western Avenue near Melrose, and it had its red flashers on with stop sign extended from the side.

Do you suppose anyone stopped?

Well, let me put it this way – when’s the last time you saw traffic pull to the side of the road for a fire truck?

Every single car flew past the bus. (Not me. I was on the other side of the intersection and just an observer, albeit an observer without her camera handy.)

So I’m wondering – were they all complete and utter fucktards, or is stopping for a schoolbus optional in Los Angeles?

8 thoughts on “Won’t somebody think of the children?”

  1. i ran into this yesterday on the way home from work, yellow lights so i proceedeed with caution, but back in iowa red means stop and that’s what we did. hell, people in LA can’t even figure out how to use their turn signals, how are they gonna figure out how to stop for buses?

  2. I assumed the lights were there to keep traffic from flowing in both directions since kids might hop off the bus and then run across the street. This made sense in the suburbs where crosswalks and stoplights are less frequent.

    In a city, though, where kids can easily walk up to a nearby stoplight or crosswalk, instead of jaywalking, I don’t know if this rule would still apply…

  3. According to the DMV driving test, flashing red lights on a school bus means traffic in both directions are supposed to stop. I don’t know of anything that indicates the law is any different for two lane street as it is for, say, a six lane boulevard.

    School buses are not the norm in this city and I think basically people are just totally unaware of thier surroundings (because they’re too busy talking on thier cell phones), and by the time they realize what they’ve done (if they realize it at all) well, they’ve already passed it.

    Total jacktards.

  4. I was behind a schoolbus for a while on Monday. I did all the right things but that was partly because I was sick and spaced out of my mind.

    And for the record, yesterday, while coming home from the doctor’s my wife pulled over a fire truck as did everyone else.

    These things go in cycles. When it gets really bad, the LAFD asks the 11 O’Clock news to do a story, and people get better for a while until it starts to deteriorate again. We just need to get schoolbuses into the news cycle.

  5. If I remember correctly from traffic school, you do have to stop on a two-lane street, but not on a four-lane with double yellow lines.

    I drove a school bus years ago in Kentucky and it’s a harrowing experience at best. I had the longest route in the state (90 minutes) and it was a white-knuckle ride every day.

  6. Thanks for the link to our “Operation Right Move” campaign.

    Please know that the daily occurence of children needlessly being struck by vehicles in Los Angeles is frustrating to Firefighters and Paramedics. Precious few of these stories make the news, but the loss or social, medical, financial and mental impact is often lasting for all involved.

    Sadly, we’re a bit too close to the end of the school year to have the media bite on a School Bus Safety campaign. If we had our way, they’d do it weekly, but then again the Fire Department is a public service and the news is above and beyond all else a business.

    I hope it will help in knowing that our agency has been doing advance work on this and other issues that ‘sell well’ during the Fall, and we hope to have a collaborative School Bus Safety campaign in place prior to the time the youngest kids get back in the classroom. Among the on-line content we’ll offer is this:


    Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

    Brian Humphrey
    Public Service Officer
    Los Angeles Fire Department

  7. Nobody stops for anything anymore here in LA. Someone turning left in front of you? Make your own special lane by swerving into the turn lane to go around them! Old person crossing the street? Make a sudden right hand turn down a nearby street to avoid them! Drive up on the sidewalk, take your Hummer up and over the compact car in front of you!

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