Published On: Wed, Aug 22nd, 2018

Remember to be extra vigilant as school buses hit the roads again

As the new school year gets underway, motorists need to be more vigilant than ever to avoid potentially tragic crashes and strong penalties as school buses return to the roads and transport area kids.

State law says drivers 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 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has been reminding folks this week. The only exception 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, PennDOT advises.

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.

“Our lives are filled with distractions, but we simply must put them aside and focus on the road ahead when we get behind the wheel,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “Even a momentary distraction – especially around school buses and in school zones — can lead to tragedy.”

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, drivers 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. If convicted, violators face a fine and three points on their driving record, says PennDOT.

School is back in session Sept. 4 in the New Hope-Solebury School District. Remember to stay alert on the road — for all our kids.

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