It is state law that motor vehicles do not pass stopped school buses displaying red flashing lights, which indicate that a person is entering or exiting the bus. If a car does pass a school bus, it is the bus driver’s responsibility to take down the license plate number and file a complaint. Police Chief Douglas Fuchs is requesting that school bus drivers lodge complaints with the police department instead of going to the Department of Motor Vehicle enforcement.
Chief Fuchs said that when bus drivers report a complaint to the DMV, they run the plate and send a warning violation to the vehicle’s registered owner.
“Generally speaking, they don’t issue an infraction and we never know about it,” he said.
In the last two years, only five complaints have been made to the police department by bus drivers, said Chief Fuchs. He has spoken with school administrators and Dattco, the bus company used by Easton, Redding and Region 9 schools, to advise bus drivers to direct complaints to the police department instead of the DMV so the police department can investigate.
“We’ll follow it up, call the bus driver in, take a written statement, run the license plate, contact the registered owner, determine who the driver is and if probable cause exists that they passed the school bus, they will be given an infraction,” said Chief Fuchs.
There is a $465 fine, as well as a number of points added to the persons driver’s license, for passing school buses while they are stopped with lights flashing, he said.