National School Bus Safety Week: Tips to keep kids and drivers safe

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EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Monday, October 18 through Friday, October 22 is National School Bus Safety Week. PennDOT is reminding all involved of the important roles they play in keeping students safe.

According to PennDOT, 1.5M students are transported on Pennsylvania roads every day. The students are transported around 350M miles every year and every year, children and bus drivers are injured or killed by drivers passing school buses illegally.

The Pennsylvania School Bus Stopping Law states that a motorist must stop for a school bus loading and unloading children. If a driver is convicted of violating the law, they’re facing a 60-day driver’s license suspension, five points on your driving record and a $250 fine.

The law also states motorists must stop when:

  • A bus is stopped, on the road or in an intersection, with red signal lights flash and stop arm extended
  • Motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from the school bus
  • Motorists must wait until the red lights stop flashing and the stop arm has been withdrawn before moving
  • DO NOT MOVE until all children have reached a place of safety.

PennDOT also has tips for parents, students, and school bus drivers to keep students safe.

For parents and students:

  • Get to the bus stop five minutes early
  • Stay away from traffic when waiting for the bus. Take five giant steps back from the curb or road way to wait
  • Never run after the school bus if you’ve missed it
  • Walk 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing, so the driver can see you
  • Never play with the emergency exits. Backpacks, band instruments, or sports equipment may not block the aisle or emergency exits. If there is an emergency, listen to the driver and follow instructions
  • Never cross the street behind the school bus.
  • Never speak to strangers at the bus stop and never get into the car with a stranger.

For bus drivers:

  • Always inspect the bus prior to the trip to check for mechanical defefcts
  • Be positive with you students, they count on you everyday and you’re the first authority figure they encounter, setting the tone for the day
  • Always ensure all students are seated as PA law prohibits children from standing while the bus is moving
  • Do not allow children to exit the bus before traffic has come to a complete stop and the safety equipment has been engaged
  • Be prepared to act appropriately in emergency and crash situations. Your actions could mean the difference between life and death.
  • Provide adequate instructions so every student is familiar with bus emergency procedures and equipment use, as well as the safe loading and unloading procedures.

PennDOT says they participate in National School Bus Safety Week each year. This year the theme is 1 Bus + 1 Driver= a BIG Impact on Education.

For anyone who wishes to learn more about School Bus Safety Week, please visit the National Association for Pupil Transportation.

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