New school bus schedules heed motorist caution

The rules regarding school buses have not changed, but some of the timing has.

Some motorists who have very consistent morning and evening schedules over a span of years may see buses that they have not encountered in the past.

“School bus routes were adjusted due to the change in the school day, resulting in earlier pick-up times and later drop-off times,” Warren County School District Transportation Manager Mike Kiehl said. “Parents, children, and schools are adjusting well to those changes.”

The motoring public needs to adjust, too.

Buses require special attention. Children may run to or from them.

School officials and law enforcement are urging motorists to be cautious… and to obey the law.

“Bus safety is an ongoing concern for the district, especially in the back-to-school season,” Kiehl said.

He urges drivers to continue watching for distracted children when driving in school zones.

“Drivers should especially remain alert when in sight of a school bus, as children may be darting into the street without looking for traffic,” he said. “Also, drivers must remember that state law requires that motorists come to a complete stop when meeting a stopped school bus, or when a bus is at an intersection with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended.”

City of Warren Police Chief Brandon Deppen clarified the intersection rule. “People must stop for the bus regardless of the side of the intersection they are on,” he said. “The bus has control of the entire intersection.”

Violations of the Pennsylvania School Bus Stopping Law can result in a $250 fine, five points on the driver’s license, and a 60-day suspension.

The law states:

¯ “Motorists must stop at least 10 feet away from school buses that have their red lights flashing and stop arm extended;

¯ Motorists must stop when they are behind a bus, meeting the bus or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped;

¯ 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or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety;

¯ If physical barriers such as grassy medians, guide rails or concrete median barriers separate oncoming traffic from the bus, motorists in the opposing lanes may proceed without stopping; and

¯ Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.”

So far, so good.

“Student transportation is off to a good start in the Warren County School District as we finish the second week of the 2018-2019 school year,” Kiehl said.