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With children going back to school, PennDOT reminds drivers of school bus safety laws

Since the new school year is fast approaching, PennDOT is providing reminders on school traffic safety and laws to motorists, along with safety reminders to students that will be waiting at local bus stops.
As a reminder, Bellwood-Antis School District is scheduled to begin school tomorrow, while Tyrone Area School District will resume classes on Wednesday. St. Matthew School students are scheduled to begin September 5.
“School bus safety is important and we want to make sure everyone reaches their destination without incident,” PennDOT Secretary Allen Biehler said. “Motorists need to take the added precaution of watching for students who are boarding or exiting school buses, respecting school crossing guards who are working to ensure children arrive safely at school or home, and obeying traffic laws regarding school buses and school zones.”
PennDOT would like to remind motorists to obey Pennsylvania’s school bus stopping law. When approaching a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended, all motorists traveling in all directions must stop at least 10 feet from the bus. Motorists who encounter a school bus on the opposite side of a divided highway with some type of concrete barrier or grassy median should slow down, but they are not required to stop.
Motorists who are convicted of violating this law face a 60 day driver’s license suspension, five points on their driving record and a $250 fine.
PennDOT officials would also like to remind motorists to watch for children who may suddenly dart into the street or from between parked cars, and children walking or riding their bikes to school. They ask all motorists to be alert around school bus stops.
PennDOT officials also ask that all motorists obey the speed limits through school zones. Speed limits in all school zones are posted at 15 miles per hour. If a driver fails to obey the speed limit in a school zone, it will result in a fine and three points on their driving record.
Students should also be reminded to take a number of extra precautions to ensure safety at school bus stops and while riding a school bus. PennDOT is encouraging parents to sit down with their children and discuss what precautions they should take while waiting for the bus.
PennDOT offers the following school bus safety tips:
• Get to the bus stop five minutes early to avoid having to run across the road to catch the bus.
• When waiting for the school bus, stay at least five steps away from the curb or roadway to avoid traffic.
• Wait for the driver’s signal before crossing in front of the bus. Be sure to look left-right-left to see that all cars have stopped.
• Avoid the ‘school bus danger zone’ by saying at least ten giant steps away from the bus on all sides so the bus driver can see you. If something is dropped and it is so close to, or under, the bus, be sure to tell the driver before retrieving it.
• Never walk behind the school bus.
• When getting on and off the school bus, make sure all drawstrings and other loose objects are secure so they don’t get caught in the bus’ handrail or door.
• Talk quietly while on the bus so the driver is not distracted.
• Remain seated at all times and wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before exiting.
To find more information about school bus safety and Pennsylvania’s school bus stopping laws, log on to PennDOT’s web site at www.dot.state.pa.us and click on the school bus.