HARRISBURG, Pa., (PRNewswire) — With the school bell set to ring in the start of another school year, PennDOT today reminded motorists to be alert for school buses and for children walking or biking to school.
“It’s important that motorists remember that the summer routine is ending and more kids will be walking streets and sidewalks on their way to school,” said PennDOT Secretary Allen Biehler, P.E. “Responsible drivers need to watch for students who are boarding or getting off school buses, and they should watch for crossing guards who are working to make sure children are safe as they cross streets.”
Motorists in both directions must stop when a school bus has its red lights flashing and a stop arm extended. Violators of the state’s school bus stopping law face a 60-day license suspension, five points on a driving record and a $250 fine.
PennDOT also cautions motorists to watch for children who may dart into the street without looking and children playing around bus stops. Drivers should be extra alert when backing out of a driveway or garage. Last year in Pennsylvania there were 491 school bus crashes that caused 578 injuries.
Along with school bus safety, motorists also need to obey school zone speed limits, which are posted at 15 miles per hour.
PennDOT offers the following school bus safety tips to help kids be safe this year:
* Stay out of the street while waiting for the bus;
* Do not shout, yell, or sing while on the bus; it can distract the driver;
* Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before exiting;
* Wear bright clothing and allow extra time to walk to the bus stop;
* Walk 10 giant steps in front of the bus so the driver can see you;
* Never retrieve anything that falls under the bus;
* Remain seated at all times while the bus is moving;
* Keep aisles clear and stow school bags under the seat; and
* 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.
For more information about Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping law visit PennDOT at http://www.dot.state.pa.us/ and click on the School Bus.