Demanding school bus safety changes after deadly crashes across the county

(from WNEP)

COVINGTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — At least five children nationwide have been killed after being hit by vehicles near their bus stops in the past week, including a little boy in western Pennsylvania.

The deaths last week have sparked renewed concerns about safety.

There’s even an online petition signed by nearly 130,000 people asking that children no longer have to cross roads to get on or off the school bus.

Under Pennsylvania law, unless there’s a divided roadway with a barrier, drivers in both directions have to stop when a school bus puts out its flashing stop sign.

In at least two of last week’s deadly crashes, the drivers did not stop.

According to James May, a PennDOT spokesperson, every single day about 1.5 million children get on a school bus. They travel more than 400,000 every year.

“It’s a lot of children traveling a lot of miles, and it’s really important for us to make sure that we’re doing what we can to make sure these children are safe,” explained May.

PA’s School Bus Stopping Law (Courtesy: PennDOT)

  • Motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from school buses that have their red lights flashing and stop arm extended.
  • Motorists must stop when they are behind a bus, meeting the bus or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped.
  • Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety.
  • 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.
  • Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.

Penalties for Violating PA’s School Bus Stopping Law

  • $250 fine
  • Five points on your driving record
  • 60-day license suspension

For more information, review Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law Fact Sheet.