Did you see the video of the motorist driving a car on a sidewalk to get past a line of school buses in front of a school building last week? (Watch here.) Crazy, huh? You would hope everyone would know the law:
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to pass a school bus when its red lights are flashing and stop arm is extended. If convicted of breaking this law, you could get a $250 fine, five points on your driving record, and a 60-day suspension of your license.
This is the part some motorists forget:
As part of the law, motorists are required to stop at least 10 feet away when behind the 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or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety. It’s important to note that 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.
We paid a visit to PENNDOT’s website to refresh ourselves on the laws regarding passing a school bus. Here are some other school bus safety tips for parents and students to review regularly:
- 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.
- Always walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing so that the school bus driver can see you.
- 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 and sit facing forward. Never put your head, arms, or hands out of the window.
- 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.
- Never cross the street behind the school bus.