VC 22454 (a) – Passing a Stopped School Bus with Flashing Red Lights

VC 22454 (a) - Passing a Stopped School Bus with Flashing Red Lights

Passing a Stopped School Bus with Flashing Red Lights – Table of Contents

VC 22454 (a) – Overview

What is the definition of passing a stopped school bus with flashing red lights under California Vehicle Code 22454 (a)?

Any driver of a vehicle cannot overtake and pass a school bus when a school bus that is equipped with stop signs, arms have been extended, and or is equipped with flashing red lights to indicate the loading or unloading of any school children, and both the stop sign and flashing lights are clearly visible from an objectively reasonable perspective view of either the front or rear portion of the school bus; when the following occurs, the vehicle must stop and wait until the stop and wait for the bus to cease operations.

VC 22454 (a) – Prosecuting

What is the definition of a school bus as defined under California Vehicle Code 22454 (a)?

A school bus is any motor vehicle created, used, or maintained by a governing school board for the transportation of pupils to and from school who attend a governing school program at or below the 12th-grade level, no matter if it is private or public for educational activities.

What does not qualify as a school bus as defined under California Vehicle Code 22454 (a)?

A school bus does not include: (1) any motor vehicle of any type carrying only members of one household or the school bus owner’s family; (2) a motor truck transporting pupils that are seated in the passenger compartment; or a passenger vehicle carrying less than 10 pupils; UNLESS THE PUPILS ARE IN WHEELCHAIRS; (3) a vehicle that is employed or under the jurisdiction of a public transit system; (4) a state licensed carrier licensed by the Interstate Commerce Commission that was commissioned to transport a school bus entering or returning to a state or from another state; (5) a state licensed carrier licensed by the State Department of Developmental Services that is under the control of a State Hospital.

What are the compliance terms of the stop sign arm and flashing red lights as defined under California Vehicle Code 22454 (a)?

The compliance terms of school business, as defined under California Vehicle Code 22454 (a), depending on the manufacturing year. At a minimum, every school bus must be equipped with a flashing red light signal system that indicates when children are being loaded or unloaded. If the school bus was manufactured on or after September 1, 1992, a stop sign arm must be installed; if before this date, it’s optional. If the school bus was manufactured on or after July 1, 1993, an amber/ yellow warning light must be installed; if it is before this date, it’s optional. If the school bus was manufactured on or before September 1, 1992, it must comply with federal standards, NOT CALIFORNIA STATE STANDARDS. To comply further, all stop signal arm devices are those which extend outward from the side of a school bus to provide a signal to others not to pass because it is unloading pupil-age passengers.

Are there exceptions to a violation of California Vehicle Code 22454 (a)?

Yes – if the driver encounters the school bus on the other side of the roadway because the roadway is divided as a two-way passage or multiple-lane highway, the driver does not need to stop when the school bus has utilized flashing lights. A stop sign arm to load or unload passengers.

VC 22454 (a) – Sentencing

What are the penalties for a violation of California Vehicle Code 22454 (a)?

A violation of California Vehicle Code 22454 (a) is charged as an infraction or misdemeanor. But any violation can be initiated as a warning, by a mailed letter, when the bus driver can furnish the license plate and description of the violating vehicle to a peace officer or law enforcement who must investigate with corroborating evidence. California Vehicle Code 22454 (a) can be reduced from a misdemeanor to an infraction as a wobblette. As an infraction, the violation can qualify for traffic safety school under mitigating circumstances to remove any moving violations from being maintained on your record. As a misdemeanor, the penalty of confinement will not exceed 6 months in county jail, with fines not exceeding $ 1000 dollars.

Are there any new amendments to a violation of California Penal Code 22454 (a)?

Yes- Senate Bill 580. This amendment now requires the driver to stop on a divided two-way highway or roadway; unless there is an elevated barrier or the median is unpaved. In addition, the amendment would allow school buses to be equipped with monitoring and image-capturing systems to ascertain the identity of violators of California Vehicle Code 22454 (a)- and enable governing boards of education, both public and private, to report violations to the California Department of Motor Vehicles for restrictions on registration and licenses.

What are examples of violations of California Penal Code 22454 (a)?

  1. Omar is driving behind a slow-moving bus getting ready to drop off some students. Omar does not want to wait and can clearly see that the bus is about to flash its lights but has not extended its stop sign arms, so he swerves out onto the left side of the street to pass it. A nearby police officer sees him, pulls over Omar, and issues a citation for an infraction.
  2. Janus is reaching a traffic light on a two-way one, direction road that is about to turn yellow, but also sees a small bus on the right side with a bright yellow sticker on the back of the bus stating, “private contractor school bus, be cautious of flashing lights indicating dropping off handicapped children.” The bus begins to flash its lights seconds before Janus runs the traffic light. Unfortunately, Janus failed to see a parked Sheriff’s vehicle cruiser that was tucked away in an adjacent neighborhood. The Sheriff pursued him and issued a citation for a misdemeanor.

VC 22454 (a) – Defending

What are examples of defenses to a violation of California Vehicle Code 22454 (a)?

  1. Mistake, in fact- the bus was not in compliance with governing standards associated with the manufacture date.
  2. Necessity to avoid a collision or prevent further vehicle mechanical failure.
  3. Legal Impossibility- the bus was not a full stop. Nor was there proof of any flashing lights or extended signage.
  4. Mistaken Identity.

VC 22454 (a) – Hire a Lawyer

If you are charged with violating California Vehicle Code 22454 (a), call The Esfandi Law Group, APLC. Contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Seppi Esfandi, principal attorney of The Esfandi Law Group, APLC.

Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529

Read our Client Reviews

Contact Us:         
Esfandi Law Group QR Code
Esfandi Law Group
Lara S.
June 4, 2018
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

What Our Clients Say

  • five-star reviewVery sharp and very detailed! Thanks Paul you're one of the best in the business and you set an excellent example of a good quality attorney that cares!- Erick Glover

  • five-star reviewChris demonstrated both a compassionate ear as well as a logical, realistic approach to the issues that arose. He consistently responded quickly to both email and phone correspondence.- Bonnie Tova

  • five-star reviewChris has handled my contentious divorce case for the last year. He has listened to me and guided me along the way through the court system. I highly highly recommend him.- P.K.

  • five-star reviewChris Moore was always extremely diligent and 'on point' with me every step of the way. He was honest, respectful, straightforward, and very competent. He exceeded my expectations.- D.A.

Get a Free Consultation

    Contact Us Form