Be extra cautious as school year beginsPublished Sep 9, 2013 at 10:14 am (Updated Sep 9, 2013 at 10:14 am)
School is in session. Obey the stop signs on buses or pay huge fines.
With a new school year beginning in Pennsylvania, motorists are urged to watch for students and school buses to prevent potentially tragic crashes and avoid strong penalties under the state’s school bus stopping law.
“As students return to the classroom, drivers who haven’t had to drive around buses or students for months must be alert for bus stops and school zones,” PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch said. “The consequences of just a moment of distraction could prove to be tragic.”
Under the state’s school bus stopping law, motorists approaching a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended are required to stop in all directions at least 10 feet from the bus. The only exception to the law is when a school bus is stopped on the opposite side of a highway clearly separated by a divider, such as concrete barriers or grass medians. Even in this situation, motorists should remain watchful of students trying to cross the road to catch the bus.
If convicted of violating Pennsylvania’s school bus stopping law, drivers face a $250 fine, five points on their driving record and a 60-day license suspension.
Students are also 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.
In addition to watching for school buses, motorists should be alert in school zones, which become hubs of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Motorists are required to slow down to the posted speed limit of 15 mph in school zones. Violators face a fine and three points on their driving record.
For more information on Pennsylvania’s school bus stopping law, safety tips and programs, visit www.JustDrivePa.com.