As hundreds of school buses roll out across Bucks County signaling the return to school, the TMA Bucks Community Traffic Safety Program is stressing the importance of Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law.
Under the state’s School Bus Stopping Law, all motorists must come to a halt when they approach a school bus displaying its red lights and stop arm, maintaining a distance of at least 10 feet from the bus in all directions. The sole exception to this rule is if a school bus is stationed on the opposing side of a highway that is distinctly separated by dividers, like concrete barriers or grass medians. However, even in such instances, drivers are urged to be vigilant for students who may be crossing the road to board the bus.
TMA Bucks community traffic safety program manager Carly Wible emphasized the collective responsibility surrounding school bus safety.
“Students, parents, teachers, administrators, transportation personnel and the community all need to play important roles in keeping our children safe while on and around school buses. The Pennsylvania School Bus Stopping Law is not just a legal requirement but it is designed to prevent tragedies and protect our most precious passengers, our children,” she said.
PennDOT has said those who get caught violating the School Bus Stopping Law will face a fine of $250, accrue five points on their driving record, and undergo a 60-day license suspension.
“”Furthermore, the TMA Bucks Community Traffic Safety Program wants to remind everyone that children face traffic dangers while awaiting buses or walking to bus stops or school. It is essential for drivers to exercise caution and vigilance near school bus stops and to give way to pedestrians at crosswalks.”
“TMA Bucks also reminds everyone that students are exposed to traffic while waiting for buses or walking to the bus stop or school. Motorists are reminded to be cautious and alert when approaching a school bus stop and to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks,” the traffic safety nonprofit said.
In school zones, motorists are required to reduce their speed to the displayed limit of 15 mph within these zones. PennDOT has warned violators will be fined and will receive three points on their driving record upon conviction.
PennDOT released the following safety tips for parents and students:
- Get to the school bus stop five minutes early so you won’t have to run across the road to catch the bus.
- When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic. 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 of 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.
- Be aware — cross with care! Wait until the school bus has stopped all traffic before stepping out onto the road.
- When the school bus is moving, always stay in your seat. Never put your head, arms or hands out of the window.
- Talk quietly; do not distract your school bus driver.
- If your school bus crosses railroad tracks, be calm and quiet so that your driver can listen for a train. Always obey your school bus driver’s instructions, so that he or she can make safe decisions.
- Never play with the emergency exits. Backpacks, band instruments, or sports equipment may not block the aisle or emergency exits. If there is an emergency, listen to the driver and follow instructions.
- When getting off of the school bus, make sure that all drawstrings and other loose objects are secure so that they don’t get caught on the handrail or the door.
- Never cross the street behind the school bus.
- Never speak to strangers at the bus stop and never get into the car with a stranger.