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When to Stop for School Buses

When to Stop for School Buses

There have been too many tragic stories in the news lately about children getting hit by vehicles when getting on or off a school bus, including a deadly incident in Pennsylvania in which a 7-year-old boy was struck by a hit and run driver. The child was a second-grade student in the Tyrone Area School

There have been too many tragic stories in the news lately about children getting hit by vehicles when getting on or off a school bus, including a deadly incident in Pennsylvania in which a 7-year-old boy was struck by a hit and run driver. The child was a second-grade student in the Tyrone Area School District.

These crashes can be completely avoidable if motorists obey the Pennsylvania School Bus Stopping Law which requires motorists to 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 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or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety.

One of the most frequent questions asked regarding the Pennsylvania School Bus Stopping Law is whether a motorist must stop on a multi-lane highway. The answer is yes, a motorist must stop unless they are in the opposing lane of a highway divided by a physical barrier. Physical barriers include grassy medians, traditional or cable guide rails or concrete median barriers. If there is no physical barrier between lanes, all lanes of traffic must stop if a school bus stops with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended. When in doubt, stop.

Vehicles also must stop even if the bus is off the roadway on the shoulder according to Lt. Eric McKean with the Pennsylvania State Police. The shoulder is part of the “highway” and is maintained from berm to berm and includes the paved “roadway”. Unless the bus is on the other side of a divided highway, police will issue citations for motorist failing to stop for a school bus on the shoulder.

Motorists should not proceed until the bus turns off the flashing red lights and after all children have reached safety.

For more information about the school bus safety and to view an interactive infographic on when to stop for a school bus, visit http://www.penndot.gov/safety.

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