As the new school year begins, PennDOT reminds drivers to remain vigilant as students and school buses return to the roadways.
“Our ultimate goal is to make sure everyone safely arrives at their destination,” said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch. “Motorists should avoid distractions and obey school bus and school zone traffic laws so we have the safest possible environment for students boarding and exiting buses.”
By law, motorists approaching from all directions are required to stop at least 10 feet from a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended. The only exception is when a driver encounters a school bus stopping 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 be alert for students trying to cross the road to catch the bus.
Motorists convicted of violating Pennsylvania’s school bus stopping law face a $250 fine, five points on their driving record and a 60-day license suspension. 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. 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.
For more information on Pennsylvania’s school bus stopping law, school bus safety tips and programs, visit PennDOT’s highway safety website, www.JustDrivePa.org, and select the “School Bus Safety” link under the Traffic Safety Information Center.