One thing most people know when they start driving is that they have certain responsibilities when driving around a school bus. However, not everyone is completely clear on the “ins and outs” of these responsibilities. Here, we want to discuss school bus safety, particularly your responsibilities as a driver when it comes to stopping for the bus. The lives of children depend on you and every other driver in Pennsylvania to understand and following these laws.
Knowing When You Have to Stop for a School Bus
When we examine information available from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, we can see that the following rules apply on the roadway when a school bus is stopped:
- All motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from the school bus if the red lights on the bus are illuminated and the stop arm on the side of the bus is extended.
- Motorists are required to stop if they are behind a bus, meeting the bus, or approaching an intersection where the bus is stopped.
- Motorists traveling in the same traffic direction as a school bus are required to stop when the bus stops and remain stopped until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm gets withdrawn, and the children have reached a safe location out of the roadway.
- If there are physical barriers, such as guardrails, concrete medians, or grassy barriers that separate oncoming traffic from the school bus, then motorists in the opposing lanes can proceed without stopping.
Even after the school bus proceeds forward again, motorists should be on the lookout for children that the bus dropped off. Drivers should not proceed until all children have reached a place of safety out of the roadway, and we encourage drivers to remain extra vigilant just in case a child attempts to cross the road after the bus drives away.
Penalties for Not Stopping for a School Bus in Pennsylvania
Drivers could face significant penalties if they fail to stop for a school bus when required to do so by law. There is a monetary fine of $250 to $300. In addition to the monetary penalty, that conviction will result in five points on a person’s driving record, along with the possibility of a 60-day license suspension.
In addition to the possible monetary fine and license penalties, failing to stop for a school bus could result in a much more dire situation, including injured children. As an adult operating a vehicle, you have the responsibility on the roadway. The safety of children getting off the bus is of the utmost importance, and there are times when children will do unpredictable things, including bolting back onto the road unexpectedly.
The school bus safety laws in Pennsylvania are designed to help decrease the chances that a child will get struck by a vehicle when getting on or off the bus. The consequences of failing to stop for a school bus are far too great to take the risk. We strongly encourage all drivers to adhere to traffic laws, especially when the safety and lives of children are part of the equation.
If you were wrongfully accused of not stopping for a school bus, contact a Pennsylvania school bus violation lawyer today.