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The Wheels on the Bus: School Bus Laws in PA

Now that kids are heading back to school, we’re all seeing those familiar yellow vehicles filling the roads. School buses are a major convenience for parents who couldn’t otherwise take their kids to school, saving us time and money. In fact, 1.5 million children are transported on school buses in PA each day, and these buses travel over 400 million miles each year. However, it’s easy to forget exactly what the laws surrounding school buses are.

Next time you’re driving to work in the morning, or happen to see one dropping kids off from school, these are the laws to keep in mind for Pennsylvania.• When the bus’s red lights are flashing and the stop sign is extended, drivers are required to stop at least 10 feet away from the bus. This ensures children have enough space to maneuver around the bus.

• Drivers are required to stop behind a stopped bus, when meeting a stopped bus coming the other way, and when approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped.

• If you’re traveling alongside a school bus, you’re also required to stop when it does, and you can only resume moving when the red lights stop flashing, the stop sign is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety.

• There is one situation where you do NOT have to stop, however. If a physical barrier separates oncoming traffic from the bus, like a grassy median, guide rail, or concrete median, you do not have to stop if you’re in the oncoming lane on the other side.Just in case you were wondering what the penalties are for ignoring these rules, they can include a $250 fine, 5 points on your license, and a 60-day license suspension.

Annually, there are over 1,000 drivers who don’t follow these laws. This can result in injury or death for schoolchildren who are trying to get to school or home. Just remember these simple rules, and you’ll help keep everyone safe!

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