CLEARFIELD – More than 120 first-grade students joined PennDOT to show they “Love the Bus” Wednesday morning at Clearfield Elementary School. Love the Bus is a national initiative coordinated by the American School Bus Council to recognize the importance of school buses.
Students learned how to be safe in and around school buses. PennDOT District 2 Safety Press Officer Dawn Roussey shared tips from www.JustDrivePA.com, such as:
- 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;
- When the school bus is moving, always stay in your seat. Never put your head, arms or hands out of the window;
- Talk quietly; do not distract your school bus driver.
Students were also given the opportunity to write their name on a special Valentine “kiss,” and place it on the school bus. The students’ kisses were joined by those from teachers and administrators as well as transportation personnel.
The “Love the Bus” program also offers an opportunity for students and others to recognize the school bus drivers who safely transport children. In Pennsylvania, 1,521,632 children are transported to school by bus each day. Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have shown that school buses are the safest mode of transportation to and from school for children, and that every school bus takes approximately 36 cars off the road every morning and afternoon.
In Pennsylvania, school bus drivers receive specialized classroom and behind-the-wheel training in driving a school bus; student loading/unloading procedures; student evacuation; student behavior and security management; and emergency medical procedures. All school bus drivers are also required to participate in pre-employment, random and post-accident drug and alcohol testing, frequent driving record checks and pass periodic medical exams to ensure they are physically qualified.
All motorists should familiarize themselves with Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law. Failure to obey the law can result in a fine, points on your driving record and a driver’s license suspension.
Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law requires the following:
- Motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from school buses that have their red lights flashing and stop arm extended;
- Motorists must stop when they are behind a 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;
- 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;
- Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.
“Love the Bus” continues through the end of February. Parents, teachers and children are invited to visit the program’s Web site at www.LoveTheBus.com to share their Stories from the Road or make Valentines show bus drivers their appreciation.