On November 7, 2022, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced the results of Operation Safe Stop, an annual school bus enforcement and education initiative that was held on October 19, 2022. Officials also reminded students of safety tips to remember while waiting for or loading and unloading the bus.
Operation Safe Stop data revealed that participating school districts and law enforcement agencies reported witnessed 155 violations of the law, down from the 252 reported last year. The initiative is held in conjunction with local and state police departments, school districts, and pupil transportation providers to conduct enforcement, raise public awareness about the consequences of improper passing of school buses, and reduce occurrences. Convictions for breaking the School Bus Stopping Law increased from 314 in 2020 to 348 in 2021.
The School Bus Stopping Law requires motorists to stop at least 10 feet from the bus when approaching a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended. Motorists approaching from all directions are required to stop. The only exception to this law is when motorists encounter a school bus stopping on the opposite side of a divided highway when lanes of the highway are clearly separated by a divider, such as a concrete barrier or grassy median.
Some safety tips for students to remember while waiting for or loading and unloading the bus include:
-Get to the school bus stop five minutes early, so you won´t have to run across the road to catch the bus.
-When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic.
-Line up at least five giant steps away from the curb or the roadway to wait for the bus.
-Never run after the school bus if it has already left the bus stop.
For more information about school bus safety, visit PennDOT’s School Bus Safety Tips page on PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services website. The website also offers an interactive video illustrating Pennsylvania’s school bus stopping law.