It’s that time of year – the backpacks and lunches are packed as kids around Pennsylvania are heading back to school today.
Each day, approximately 1.5 million kids are transported on school buses in Pennsylvania, according the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). School buses are extremely safe. In fact, students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a school bus instead of traveling by car, according to the NHTSA.
Still, it’s our responsibility when driving to help them travel safely and be sure we are taking the right steps while traveling ourselves.
The Pennsylvania DMV specifies five rules that all drivers are expected to adhere to around school buses.
- Vehicles must stop when they encounter a stopped school bus with its lights flashing and stop arm out.
- When you approach an intersection, and there is a school bus there with its flashing lights on and stop arm extended, you must stop.
- Always stop 10 feet away from a bus when it is evident that you need to stop.
- When stopped by a bus, you have to wait until the red lights have stopped flashing, and the stop arm withdraws before resuming driving.
- Don’t begin driving until you see the children exit the bus and clear the road. If you cannot see them, then wait until the bus leaves.
Consequences for Breaking the Rules
The DMV estimates that at least 1,000 people each year disobey the state’s school bus stopping laws. If a driver is caught and convicted of disobeying one of the above rules, the possible penalties include the following.
- A 60-day driver’s license suspension
- Five points on his or her driving record
- A fine of at least $250
If the driver causes injury or death to a child because of a failure to obey school bus stopping rules, additional charges and penalties may ensue. Furthermore, if a driver breaks the rules and is found negligent after an accident, the victim’s family can file a civil lawsuit against the driver. Negligent drivers can (and should) be held legally responsible for all the damages they cause. Please be smart and responsible!
If you have questions about a recent accident or injury, don’t hesitate to contact us at www.cordiscosaile.com.