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Safety first

Drivers, students advised to take care with buses

Metro Creative Connection
When a school bus is stopped with red lights flashing, its stop sign and arm extended, state law requires all vehicles in the vicinity of the bus to stop and wait for students to get on or off the bus. Failure to do so will lead to a fine, points and license suspension.

LEWISTOWN — Mifflin County Regional Police reminds drivers that it is against state law not to stop for school buses displaying flashing red lights.

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to pass a school bus when its red lights are flashing and stop arm is extended. If convicted of breaking this law, a driver will receive a $250 fine, five points on their driving record and a 60-day suspension of their driver’s license.

As part of the law, motorists are required to stop at least 10 feet away when behind the bus, meeting the bus or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped with these flashing red lights and stop arm activated. Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn and all children have reached safety.

Most busing companies employed by the Mifflin County School District are now equipped with a sophisticated camera system, to include a camera on the stop arm, which can identify drivers who are illegally passing stopped school buses. Regional Police have a zero-tolerance policy for vilations of this nature, and have received a number of reports of violations, video from which is under review.

School resource officers do not believe these violations are the result of malicious intent. Instead, violations are most likely the result of careless or inattentive driving. Police encourage all motorists to exercise due care when encountering a school bus.

Students also are advised to practice safety around school buses. Police offers these tips for school students utilizing bus transportation:

¯Get to the bus stop early so you won’t have to run across the road to catch the bus.

¯When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic.

¯Never run after the school bus if it has already left the bus stop.

¯Always walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing so that the school bus driver can see you.

¯Wait until the school bus has stopped all traffic before stepping out onto the road.

¯Never cross the street behind the school bus.

Remember, stop, look and listen to make sure all traffic is stopped.

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