National School Bus Safety Week is held the third full week of October. It is an educational program and a way in which parents, students, teachers, motorists, school bus operators, and school administrators can join forces and address the importance of school bus safety. School bus transportation plays a critical role in the education of our students and is the direct link between a neighborhood and the classroom. An estimated 25 million children ride a school bus every day.
In Pennsylvania motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from a school bus that has red lights flashing and the stop arm extended. Motorists must stop when they are behind a bus, following a bus, traveling alongside a bus, meeting a bus, or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped. Motorists should not proceed until all children have reached a place of safety. Penalties if convicted of violating Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law include a $250 fine, five points on your driving record, and 60 day license suspension.
The following are some tips to keep children safe:
- Have your children put everything they carry in a backpack or school bag so that they won’t drop things along the way to the bus stop.
- Make sure children leave home on time so they can arrive at the bus stop before it is due, ideally at least 5 minutes.
- Walk young children to the bus stop or encourage children to walk in groups. There is safety in numbers and groups are easier for drivers to see.
- When waiting for the bus stay away from traffic. Line up at least 5 giant steps away from the curb or the roadway to wait for the bus.
- Have children wait in a location where the driver can see them while driving down the street.
- Always walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing so that the school bus driver can see you. Never cross the street behind the school bus.
- Wait until the school bus has stopped all traffic before stepping out onto the road.
- When the school bus is moving, always stay in your seat and never put your head, arms or hands out of the window.
- Talk quietly so as to not distract your bus driver.
- Do not play with the emergency exits. Backpacks, band instruments, or sports equipment may not block the aisle or emergency exits.
- When getting off the school bus, make sure that all loose objects are secure so that they don’t get caught on the handrail or door.
- If you leave something on the bus or drop something outside of the bus, never go back for it. The driver may not see you and begin moving the bus.
- If you meet your child at the bus stop after school, wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street. Children may be so excited to see you that they dash across the street and disregard the safety rules.
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