‘It’s very scary’: Penalties for passing by stopped school buses and other safety tips

PENN TOWNSHIP PERRY COUNTY, Pa. -- Students are heading back to school, and many will hop on the bus.

State leaders are reminding parents to talk to their kids about school bus safety. They're also reminding drivers to obey the law.

Contrary to what some drivers think, the only exception for not stopping for a school bus is if there is a concrete barrier separating the lanes of traffic.

Fritzi Schreffler, a spokeswoman for PennDOT, says drivers have to wait for school buses even at four-way intersections.

"There is never a good reason to pass a bus, unless you're on the other side of the highway, and that's the only time!" she said.

If drivers break the law, be prepared for the consequences and a day in court.

"A $250 fine, 5 points on your license, and a 60-day license suspension. That aside, you're putting the life of a child at risk," added Schreffler.

"It's very scary. There has been many close calls," said David Schrantz, the Vice President of Rohrer Bus Service.

Schrantz might be vice president, but he wears many other hats.

"I have driven routes on Linglestown Road many times, and you'll be lucky to get somebody to stop on the other side of the roadway," he said.

Schrantz says he is not sure if drivers don't know the law or they just don't care.

"When you pull up to cars at stoplights, and you look down in the vehicle at somebody, their phone is in their lap!" he said.

He says all it takes is one good driver.

"Once that first car stops, everybody else stops," explained Schrantz.

As for inside the school bus? Bus drivers say it's important for parents to teach their kids to keep their bottoms to the bottom of the seat and their backs to the back, use their inside voices, and keep their hands, feet, and arms to themselves.

Kids should treat the inside like an extension of the classroom. While waiting outside at their bus stops, Schrantz says kids should stay at least 10 feet away from the road.

Officials say the good news is school buses are actually one of the safest modes of transportation. The seats are built to protect children which is why there are no seat belts.

 

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