Reminders for Bus Stopping Laws from PIC Early Childhood Development

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Head Start / Early Head Start FAQs The Private Industry Council discusses frequently asked questions for Head Start and Early Head Start students. Private Industry Council operates the Head Start / Early Head Start program for Beaver and Fayette Counties in the...

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In recent years there has been a number of incidents of motorists not obeying the school bus stopping laws. There are motorists that are in such a hurry to get to their destination that they are willing to risk the safety of school students by disobeying and passing a school bus while the school bus is stopped, and while the stop arm is extended and the red lights are flashing. This is a situation that is extremely dangerous for students being picked up or discharged from the school bus and this also puts extra stress on the school bus driver that already has many things going on such as keeping track of students, checking traffic to see if every motorist has stopped, and monitoring students that are seated inside the bus. When there are students outside of the bus and the school bus driver is inside the bus buckled into their seat, if a situation would arise that would endanger the students, there is nothing the bus driver can do except signal the students of the danger and hope the students are paying attention to avoid a dangerous situation, like a motorist not obeying the school bus stopping laws. When the school bus stopping law is violated, this puts the students in danger of injury or worse if they are hit by a motor vehicle and these students that could be put in danger are someone’s child, grandchild, brother, sister, niece, nephew, classmate.  Sometimes drivers do not realize how much danger they are putting these students in by not complying to the bus stopping laws.

With the increase of the number of vehicle drivers violating school bus stopping laws and endangering the safety of students during being picked up or discharged from a school bus on roadways, there is pressure to legislators to increase the penalties for violating the school bus stopping laws. Currently, in Pennsylvania if a driver is convicted of violating the Pennsylvania School Bus Stopping Laws, the driver will receive the following penalties: 60 days suspension, five points on their driving record and a $250.00 fine, and these penalties may increase. School bus transportation providers are also addressing the issue of drivers not stopping when the red lighting system is activated by equipping the buses with a brighter red lighting system, longer stop arms with more lights that extend into the roadway next to the bus, and equipping the school bus with a camera system that has multiple locations to capture violators. The laws that may become stricter and the extra equipment put on school buses are there to help protect the students. As for the drivers that share the roadway with school buses transporting the community’s children, let’s do our part and take extra time starting to our destination and when a school bus is stopped with the red stop lights activated, stop, give the school bus plenty of room so the bus driver can safely pick-up or discharge students.

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