When a school bus is stopped to pick-up or drop-off children, drivers traveling in the same lane as the bus must stop and wait until the bus finishes with its stop, retracts its stop arm, and resumes driving before they can start driving again. This is primarily for the safety of the children on the bus – children can walk or run into the street unexpectedly and be injured in a collision with a moving vehicle. This rule is also in place to keep motorists, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians other than schoolchildren safe because school buses can obstruct views from all angles.
A recent sting in Pennsylvania counted 120 violations of this rule. The sting was conducted by law enforcement officers from Emmaus, Lehigh Township, and South Whitehall Township as well as Parkland School District and representatives of PennDOT and the State Department of Education.
Fifty-six of these violations led to drivers receiving citations and more will likely follow as investigations of these cases continue. Unsafe passing causes car accidents, which can injure or kill victims. In 2015, 701 Pennsylvania drivers were convicted of improperly passing school buses. By 2016, this figure rose to 730.
Rules for Motorists Passing School Buses
Pennsylvania drivers are required to comply with the following rules when approaching and passing stopped school buses:
Drivers approaching from all directions must come to a complete stop.
When the bus’ stop arm is extended and its red lights are flashing, all drivers must stop 10 feet or further from the bus.
When a bus is stopped on a divided highway, motorists traveling on the other side of the median are not required to stop.
Penalties for Violations
If an individual is convicted of illegally passing a stopped school bus, they face the following penalties:
A $250 fine
Five points on their driver’s license
A 60-day driver’s license suspension
When a driver reaches six points on their driver’s license for the first time, they must take and pass a written driving examination or face a license suspension until the exam is passed. For subsequent accruals of six points and accruals of 11 points or more, drivers face more severe penalties, which include lengthy driver’s license suspensions.
To catch motorists illegally passing buses, the Parkland School District purchased and installed $331,000 worth of surveillance cameras and equipment into their buses.
Delaware County Car Accident Lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC Represent Victims Injured by Negligent MotoristsIf you or a loved one is suffering from an injury sustained in a collision with a vehicle that did not pass a school bus properly, contact a Delaware County car accident lawyer at McCann & Wall, LLC. Call 215-569-8488 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation. Our offices are located in Philadelphia and we work with clients from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.