Bus Accident
Greg Prosmushkin
Nov 29, 2022

School bus laws in Pennsylvania: When to stop and when not to stop?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), motorists must maintain a distance of 10 feet from school buses that are extending their stop arms and flashing their red lights.

Moreover, when the stop arm is extended, motorists must stop whether they are about to meet a bus or behind a bus. When drivers see a bus stopped and they are approaching an intersection, they must maintain a safe distance. The school bus rules for drivers specify that they must stop for the school bus until all the children have exited safely, lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm is retracted.

Bus Stop Rules And Regulations

What are the penalties for violating school bus stop sign rules?

In Pennsylvania everyday, 1.5 million children are transported via school buses. Ignoring the school bus stop sign rules may result in the death or serious injury of children. 

Failure to stop for a stopped school bus can lead to serious penalties. Some penalties include a fine of $250, 60 days suspension of license, or 5 points on your driving record. Along with that, a driver may also be criminally liable for any death or injury. A lifetime of psychological guilt may also follow the motorist. If you have been involved in a school bus accident, discuss your case with an experienced Philadelphia Bus Accident Attorney.

How to enhance the safety of children by following School Bus Traffic Laws

Parents must teach their children how to use school buses safely. School bus laws need to be followed both by children and the bus driver, as well as by other motorists in traffic. Some of the guidelines to remember regarding school bus laws and regulations are:

  • Children need to arrive at the bus stop 5 minutes before the scheduled time. Parents are responsible for visiting the bus stop before the first day with their children to show them where they have to wait. Moreover, the children should stay 6 feet away from the curb before their bus arrives. 
  • Parents should also warn their children that they must not play at the bus stop. Pushing, running, and not focusing may be dangerous. 
  • A child needs to know that they need to wait to step on the bus or get off the bus until the bus has completely stopped. They must wait for the bus driver to give a signal to approach the door and get on or off the bus. 
  • A child must sit down on a bus seat right away and face forward instead of leaning backward. They must avoid standing in the bus while the vehicle is in motion. 
  • Ensure that the children know that they must not put their hands, backpacks, or head outside the window of the bus. It is one of the most crucial safety rules to follow. 
  • A child must always walk on a sidewalk or on the far side of the road in the country when they exit the school bus. Always cross the road in front of the bus, and in front of any other cars stopped for the stop bar. 

It is important to educate the children regarding school bus stop sign laws. Knowing the rules will help ensure the safety of the children. According to the American School Bus Council, school buses make life easier, safer, and the reduction in traffic leads to a cleaner environment. School buses are beneficial for parents and educators.

Is it illegal to drive around a school bus?

According to Pennsylvania law and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you need to stop for school buses. A motorist may not attempt to pass a stopped school bus. If you pass a school bus, it may pose a threat to children and others traveling on the road. Therefore, if you see a stop-arm extending and red lights flashing, it is illegal to pass the school bus.

What is the meaning of different school bus lights?

Yellow flashing lights are an indication of a bus preparing to stop either to load or unload children. Therefore, motorists must slow down or prepare to stop their vehicles. 

Red flashing lights are an indication that the bus has stopped and either the children are getting on or getting off the bus. Therefore, motorists must stop and wait until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is retracted fully, and the bus begins to move.