Time for drivers to heed school bus rules

The reopening of school means that about 1.5 million children will be transported on Pennsylvania roads each day, traveling more than 400 million miles on buses this year, according to PennDOT.

As a result, state Sen. Andy Dinniman said it’s a good time to remind residents and motorists of Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law.

“This is basic common sense and a rule that most drivers know and obey,” Dinniman said in a press release. “Still each year, kids are injured or even killed because a driver isn’t paying attention or tries to pass a school bus. Please take some time to review the law and always be careful when you approach a school bus on our roadways.”

Under the law, drivers must stop at least 10 feet away from school buses that have their red lights flashing and stop arm extended. Motorists must stop when they are behind a bus, meeting the bus or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped. Those following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety, the release said.

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. Motorists are also reminded to slow down to the posted speed limit of 15 miles per hour in school zones, which become hubs of vehicle and pedestrian traffic, especially in the morning and afternoon hours.

The penalties for violating Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law include a 60-day license suspension, five points on your driving record and a $250 fine.

“Annually more than 1,000 motorists are cited for not obeying the School Bus Stopping Law,” Dinniman said in the release. “That is far too many. Please be alert and aware of your surroundings while driving. Put down the cell phone, pay attention to other drivers and pedestrians, and be cautious when approaching school buses, their passengers, bus stops and school zones. “

For more information on Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law and other driving and bus safety tips visit: www.justdrivepa.org/traffic-safety-information-center/school-bus-safety.

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