The Lower Merion Township Police Department will participate in Operation Safe Stop, a school bus safety public awareness campaign, on Wednesday, Oct. 23. The campaign aims to educate motorists that it is both dangerous and illegal to pass a school bus that is loading or unloading children.
“Each day, over 1.5 million children are transported on Pennsylvania roads, and over 1,000 are cited for violating the School Bus Stopping Law,” Police Superintendent Michael J. McGrath said in a statement. “Our goal is to raise awareness and reduce violations to keep our young people safe as they travel to school.”
Drivers convicted of violating the School Bus Stopping Law receive a a 60-day license suspension, five points on their driving record and a $250 fine.
The following guidelines were provided by Lower Merion Township to assist parents and students:
- Get to the school bus stop five minutes early, so you won’t have to run across the road to catch the bus.
- When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic. Line up at least five giant steps away from the curb or the roadway to wait for the bus.
- Never run after the school bus if it has already left the bus stop.
- Never push when getting on or off of the school bus.
- Always walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing so that the school bus driver can see you.
- Be aware – Cross with Care! Wait until the school bus has stopped all traffic before stepping out onto the road.
- When the school bus is moving, always stay in your seat. Never put your head, arms or hands out of the window.
- Talk quietly; do not distract your school bus driver.
- If your school bus crosses railroad tracks, be calm and quiet so that your driver can listen for a train. Always obey your school bus driver’s instructions, so that he or she can make safe decisions.
- Never play with the emergency exits. Backpacks, band instruments, or sports equipment may not block the aisle or emergency exits. If there is an emergency, listen to the driver and follow instructions.
- When getting off of the school bus, make sure that all drawstrings and other loose objects are secure so that they don’t get caught on the handrail or the door.
- Never cross the street behind the school bus.
- If you leave something on the bus or drop something outside of the bus, never go back for it. The driver may not see you and begin moving the bus.
- Never speak to strangers at the bus stop and never get into the car with a stranger.