2013-01-23 / Local & State

Passing A School Bus With Flashing Red Lights Is Illegal

As the school year reaches the mid-point, motorists are reminded to not be complacent when they see a school bus with flashing red lights.

By law, motorists approaching from all directions are required to stop at least 10 feet from a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended. The only exception is when a driver encounters a school bus stopping on the opposite side of a highway clearly separated by a divider, such as concrete barriers or grass medians. Even in this situation, motorists should be alert for students trying to cross the road to catch the bus.

Motorists convicted of violating Pennsylvania’s school bus stopping law face a $250 fine, five points on their driving record and a 60-day license suspension.

In 2011, in the six counties that are covered by District 9 (Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset) there were nearly 30 crashes involving a school bus. The majority of those crashes occurred in the months of September, January and April. Nearly all the crashes were caused by an aggressive or distracted driver.

“We want to be sure everyone arrives at their destination safely,” said PennDOT District 9 Executive, Thomas A Prestash. “ Motorists should avoid distractions and obey school bus and school zone traffic laws so we have the safest possible environment for our children.”

Students are exposed to traffic while waiting for buses or walking to the bus stop or school. Motorists are reminded to be cautious and alert when approaching a school bus stop, to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and to obey the speed limit in school zones.

For more information on Pennsylvania’s school bus stopping law, school bus safety tips and programs, visit PennDOT’s highway safety Website, www.JustDrivePa.org.

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