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Back to School: Bus safety tips and reminders

YORK, Pa-- If you haven't already you're going to start seeing those big yellow buses all over the roads again, with kids heading back to school. Now might be a good time to brush up on your school bus safety tips.

The start of the school year brings school buses and students back on the roads, and according to PennDOT 1.5 million kids are transported on Pennsylvania roads every single day. That's roughly traveling 400 million miles to school each year.

School bus safety is a top priority-- and in Pennsylvania the law requires you to stop for school buses, its called the "School Bus Stopping Law".

The school bus stopping law states that when a school bus comes to a stop with its red stop arm extended, and has its red lights flashing-- all cars are required to stop. Cars must stop in every direction a least 10 feet from the bus.

The only time cars are not required to stop for a school bus is when they are driving on the opposite side of the road, and there is a clear divide such as a grass median, or a concrete barrier.

Drivers must also stop when they are behind a bus or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped. Cars must remain stopped until the school bus's red lights have stopped flashing, and their stop sign is no longer extended.

If drivers fail to follow the school bus stopping law they could be hit with some penalties:

  • A fine of $250
  • Five points added to driving record
  • 60 day license suspension

PennDOT wants to remind people to be alert and cautious when driving, limit distractions, and don't forget the school bus stopping law.

Not only do drivers need to be cautious, but PennDOT says there are several things students and parents should be reminded of:

  • Avoid running late, get to the bus early so you aren't running across the street to catch the bus
  • When waiting at the bus stop for the bus, stay away from the road and traffic
  • Don't run after the bus once it has already left the stop
  • Always walk 10 feet in front of the bus so the bus driver can see you
  • Don't push and shove others or do something to distract the bus driver
  • Stay clear of emergency exits
  • If there is an emergency be sure to listen to your bus driver

Lets not forget about the bus drivers, the one driving kids to and from school each day:

  • Bus drivers-- your students count on you every day, so be reliable and dependable
  • Establish a positive relationship with your kids
  • Don't let anyone stand in the isle when the bus is in motion, it is against state rules
  • Before you start driving make sure all your kids are done getting on or off the bus
  • Don't let kids off the bus until all the traffic has come to a stop.

Another area where students, parents, and driver need to be alert-- school zones. They typically generate more pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic, so be cautious and slow down. Drivers are required to drive the posted speed limit at 15 miles per hour. If they don't they will be fined, and get three points on their license.

For more information you can visit PennDOTs website.