According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2004 to 2013, 33% of school-age pedestrians that died in school transportation-related crashes were struck by another vehicle on the road. The NHTSA reported that in addition to student pedestrians struck by vehicles, including passenger cars, light trucks, vans, large trucks and motorcycles, there were 87 crashes in which at least one occupant of a school transportation vehicle died. 61% of those crashes involved at least one other vehicle.
Drivers need to be alert at all times around school buses, because there will be students nearby. As soon as you see the bus red lights start to flash and the stop sign come out, you need to stop immediately. It is illegal to pass a school bus that is loading and unloading students. According to Just Drive PA, 1.5 million children are transported on Pennsylvania roads each day. These children are transported more than 400 million miles to school each year, and every year, children are needlessly injured or killed by drivers passing stopped school busses. All drivers must follow the law to keep our school children safe.
Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law
- Drivers must stop at least 10 feet away from school buses that have the red lights flashing and stop arm extended.
- Drivers must stop when they are behind a school bus or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped.
- Those following or travelling alongside a school bus must stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety.
ABC News reported this week on the frequency of drivers who illegally pass school buses. They found that tens of thousands of drivers pass stopped school busses illegally each year, endangering students entering or exiting school busses. Cameras installed on school busses in some states caught vehicles, including trucks and passenger cars, speeding by stopped school buses at high rates of speed, nearly hitting students as they walked near the bus.
With school back in session in Pennsylvania and across the country, all drivers need to be aware and focus on student pedestrian safety. When backing out of driveways, watch for children walking to school. When driving through areas with school zones, watch for students walking, crossing streets or entering or exiting school buses or other vehicles.
If you are the parent of a school-aged child, teach them to be alert when walking near their school bus, to watch for traffic near the bus before crossing the roadway to get to the bus, and to be careful and watch for traffic when walking to and from school.
We encourage all drivers to be careful around school buses and when driving in school zones. Keep alert and on the watch for school children walking nearby. Be extremely alert when nearing a school bus. Yellow flashing lights indicate a bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children, so slow down and prepare to stop. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign indicate that children are getting on or off the bus. Stop and stay stopped until children have safely reached their destination, the lights go out, the stop sign goes in and the bus begins moving again. Help keep our school children safe.
If you or your child have been injured in a pedestrian accident, a bus accident, or another accident, call the injury lawyers at Fellerman & Ciarimboli today for a free consultation. Call 215-575-9237 for our Philadelphia office or 570-714-HURT for our Wilkes-Barre office.
With more than 40 years of combined experience, the personal injury attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli strive to provide the best service to clients in Philadelphia, Northeast Pennsylvania, and throughout the Keystone State.