Pennsylvania State Police and PennDOT are reminding motorists to be alert for school bus stop locations to keep students safe as they get on and off the bus.
While school is in session, officials also advise travelers to allow extra time for their morning and afternoon commutes.
Pennsylvania law requires motorists approaching a stopped school bus with a stop arm extended and red lights flashing should stop at least 10 feet away from the school bus, whether approaching from behind or from the opposite direction.
Drivers approaching an intersection at which a school bus is stopped should stop at that intersection until the flashing red signal lights are no longer active.
Upon conviction, the penalties for a violation of this section of the law include a $250 fine, a 60-day driver's license suspension and 5 points on the motorist's driving record. According to PennDOT's Operation Safe Stop initiative, "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."
PennDOT advises students to stay away from traffic and line up several steps away from the curb or the roadway to wait for the bus. Students should never run after the school bus if it has already left the bus stop, or push when getting on the bus stop.
Once the bus arrives, students should always walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus so they can be seen by the bus driver and never cross the street behind the school bus.
When the bus is moving, students should always stay in their seats and never put their heads, arms or hands out of the window.