School bus laws – a reminder
Summer is winding down and a new school year has already begun for many local students. We offer this reminder of Pennsylvania’s school bus laws to help you keep our students safe while riding and getting on and off the bus.
According to Pa. Department of Transportation statistics for 2010, more than 1.5 million children were transported by bus over 404 million miles to and from school on Pennsylvania roads that year. Every year there are students that are needlessly injured or killed by drivers passing a stopped school bus or breaking other laws regarding school bus safety. More than 4,300 people were involved in nearly 400 accidents involving a school bus in the state. The majority, 58 percent, resulted in injuries.
Over 1,000 drivers were cited in 2010 for failing to obey school bus stopping laws in the state.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicle Code:
When you meet or overtake a stopped school bus with red signal lights flashing and stop arm extended, you MUST STOP; When you approach an intersection where a school bus is stopped with red signal lights flashing and stop arm extended, you MUST STOP; You MUST STOP at least ten (10) feet away from the school bus; You MUST WAIT until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm has been withdrawn before moving; and DO NOT MOVE until all the children have reached a place of safety.
There are exceptions to roadways with clearly defined dividing sections or physical barriers and the exception only applies when the school bus is on the opposite side of the road.
If you violate the law and are convicted you will receive all of the following penalties: a 60-day driver’s license suspension, five points on your driving record, and a $250 fine. Visit www.dmv.state.pa.us to learn more about school bus safety laws.
If you’re unsure about the rules, the DMV offers a simple solution to keep drivers out of trouble. When in doubt – stop.
Slow down and watch your speed, even in areas that are not marked as school zones. This is especially important in our rural areas where there are no sidewalks. Watch for students crossing the street where you least expect it, and be prepared to stop. Pay attention to the road and leave your cell phone or texting device in your pocket.
Lastly, we offer this reminder for those drivers who become frustrated when trying to get to work and constantly find their vehicles stuck behind a bus that seems to be making a stop every 100 yards. We have some advice for you – leave for work a few minutes early, get ahead of the bus and stop being frustrated! It’s a small price for you to pay to limit your frustration and keep the students safe.
Have a safe school year.