Time to think about school bus safety as students head back to class soon

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Caravans of yellow school buses will soon be hitting the roads as students return back to school in Pennsylvania.

As the new school year kicks off, PennDOT officials are making an urgent plea to drivers: be alert and be safe, especially around school buses.

“Our lives are filled with distractions, but we simply must put them aside and focus on the road ahead when we get behind the wheel,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards in a news release. “Even a momentary distraction – especially around school buses and in school zones — can lead to tragedy.”

The following information on school bus safety comes directly from JustDrivePa.org:

  • Motorists 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.
  • Motorists 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or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety.
  • 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.
  • Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.

If convicted of violating Pennsylvania’s school bus stopping law, drivers could face a $250 fine, five points on your driving record and a 60-day license suspension.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s school bus stopping law, school bus safety tips and programs, visit PennDOT’s highway safety website, www.JustDrivePa.org.