Back to School time is here. Those yellow buses will be out everywhere tomorrow ` it is important as caregivers AND as motorists that safety be a top priority. Here are some tips to remember, courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Parents [and Au Pairs, too!]

  • If your children’s bus stop is not near your home, walk the route to that stop with them until they are familiar with it.
  • Make sure your child knows what time the bus is scheduled to arrive and make sure he or she gets to the stop early, so the child can avoid rushing. Children in a rush are less likely to follow safety practices.


  • Wait for the bus in a safe place. Avoid horseplay that could cause you to fall into the street.
  • Never run to or from the bus.
  • Do not push or shove when getting on or off the bus.
  • Learn about the “danger zone.” That’s a 10-foot wide area on all sides of the bus, where the driver cannot see you. When you get off the bus, step outside of the danger zone until you can see the driver’s face.
  • Only cross in front of the bus where the driver can see you.
  • Never run behind the bus, or bend down to pick up an object. The bus driver may think you’ve crossed safely and start to move.
  • Do not distract the bus driver so that he/she may get you safely to and from school.


  • Drivers traveling in either direction on a two-lane road must stop when a school bus activates its flashing lights and stop sign.
  • Drivers traveling in the same direction as a school bus on a four-lane road must stop for a stopped school bus. Drivers travelling in the opposite direction are not required to stop.
  • Pennsylvania law requires vehicles to stop even when the bus is stopped to load/unload students on private property.
  • Anyone convicted of passing a stopped school bus can be fined as much as $230for the first offense, and as much as $575 for the second offense. The individual will also have their license suspended for between 1 and 12 months.

School Bus Laws

  • If a school bus has stopped and is operating the alternately flashing red lights, all drivers meeting, orovertaking the school bus shall stop at least 20 feet from the school bus.
  • Motorists may not proceed until the school bus either turns off the flashing red lights or resumes motion. This law does not apply to motorists on a divided highway, if the school bus is on the opposite side of a divided highway from the motorist. A divided highway means a highway that is divided into two or more roadways by an intervening space or barrier, such as a concrete or grassy median.
  • School bus drivers may report a violation of the above code section.
  • Only a vehicle registered as a Class M vehicle, that is used to transport children between one or more schools or licensed child care centers or to and from designated areas and is designed for carrying 15 passengers or less must have seat belts and or child safety seats for each of the occupants as required by Maryland’s child safety seat laws.

Current School Zone Laws

  • In general, the Code sets certain speed limit maximums, depending upon on the particular roadway, which is applicable to both public and private school zones.
  • 30 mph in business districts and on undivided highways in residential districts.
  • 50 mph on undivided highways, other than in residential districts.
  • 55 mph on divided highways.

However, the Code also provides either the State Highway Administration or a local authority the ability to establish a school zone around any school and set maximum speed limits for that particular school zone.

  • School zones must be designated by signs and may include flashing lights.
  • Signs designating a school zone indicate the maximum speed limit applicable.
  • A sign may also be posted indicating that fines for speeding in the school zone are doubled.
  • In a school zone where a crossing guard is posted, the maximum may not exceed 35 mph during the hours posted on the sign

Monday, 3 September 2012 1:52 PM


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