Be alert for school buses as school opens this week

The Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) District 10 would like to remind motorists to be alert for school bus stop locations to keep children safe as they get on and off the bus. Also, while school is in session, remember to allow extra travel time during your morning and afternoon commute.

Regarding Pennsylvania Law, Title 75, Section 3345 requires that motorists approaching a stopped school bus with a stop arm extended and red lights flashing shall stop at least 10 feet away from the school bus, whether approaching from behind or from the opposite direction. The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection at which a school bus is stopped shall stop his vehicle at that intersection until the flashing red signal lights are no longer actuated. Upon conviction, the penalties for a violation of this section include a $250.00 fine, a 60-day driver’s license suspension, and 5 points on the motorist’s driving record.

According to PennDOT Initiative, Operation Safe Stop, “if physical barriers such as grassy medians, guide rails or concrete median barriers separate oncoming traffic from the bus, motorists in the opposing lanes may proceed without stopping.”

The safety of children is everyone’s responsibility. Parents and caregivers should take time to discuss the importance of school bus safety with their children, namely the potential dangers associated with other vehicles approaching a stopped school bus. PennDOT offers these safety tips to share with children:

  • When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic and line up at least five giant steps away from the curb or the roadway to wait for the bus
  • Never run after the school bus if it has already left the bus stop • Never push when getting on or off the school bus
  • Always walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing so that the school bus driver can see you
  • When the school bus is moving, always stay in your seat and never put your head, arms or hands out of the window
  • Never cross the street behind the school bus
  • Never speak to strangers at the bus stop and never get into a car with a stranger

For additional information regarding school bus safety including fact sheets, graphics, and more safety tips, please visit PennDOT’s school bus safety resource page.

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