West Chester, Pa (August 23, 2023) – With the back-to-school season upon us, state Senator Carolyn Comitta is reminding residents and drivers to be alert in school zones, pay extra attention to pedestrians, and follow Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law.
“With students returning to the class, there will be more school buses back on our roadways, more children crossing streets and walking to school, and a lot of excitement and distractions that tend to come with this time of year,” Comitta said. “Please remember to allow extra time for travel, pay attention to your surroundings, and be extra careful when approaching a school bus or crosswalk on our roadways.”
Under Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law:
- 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, overtaking 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or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety.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.
The penalties for violating the School Bus Stopping Law can be significant, including a 60-day driver’s license suspension, five points on your driving record, and a $250 fine.
According to PennDOT, each year more than 700 drivers are convicted for passing a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing.
Motorists are also reminded to slow down to the posted speed limit of 15 mph in school zones, which are particularly busy in the morning and afternoon hours during student arrival and dismissal.
In addition, students can do their part to stay safe while walking or crossing roadways by unplugging from phones and electronic devices, using crosswalks and intersections with crossing guards, making eye contact with drivers, wearing visible clothing, especially in the early morning and evening hours, watching for turning vehicles, and traveling in groups.
More than 30,000 buses transported nearly 1.5 million children about 400,000 miles on Pennsylvania roads last year, according to PennDOT.
For more safety tips, visit penndot.pa.gov