Printable Version - Police are seeing an increase in school bus violations

September 14, 2017

Ferguson Township Police are seeing an increase in reported school bus violations as well as incidents
of distracted driving. Local school bus drivers have reported a number of motorists driving through flashing
school bus lights.

Local school bus violations doubled between the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years (from 49 in 2015-16
to 97 in 2016-2017).
Even one school bus violation is too many when our children's lives are at risk, but
when you consider that the school year is 180 days, the number of violations is astounding.

Our children’s safety is at risk when drivers meet or pass stopped school buses, and the penalties are severe: a $500 fee and a 60-day suspension of the motorist’s license. All buses are now equipped with cameras to monitor such activity.

The School Bus Violation Statute 3345 reads as follows:

Meeting or overtaking school bus.
(a)  Duty of approaching driver when red signals are flashing. Except as provided in subsection (g), the driver of a vehicle meeting or overtaking any school bus stopped on a highway or trafficway shall stop at least ten feet before reaching the school bus when the red signal lights on the school bus are flashing and the side stop signal arms are activated under section 4552(b.1) (relating to general requirements for school buses). The driver shall not proceed until the flashing red signal lights are no longer actuated. In no event shall a driver of a vehicle resume motion of the vehicle until the school children who may have alighted from the school bus have reached a place of safety. The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection at which a school bus is stopped shall stop his vehicle at that intersection until the flashing red signal lights are no longer actuated.

Distracted driving is one of the most serious driving offenses in United States — claiming 3,179 lives and injuring 431,000 in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Ferguson Township Police continue to cite drivers attempting to multitask while operating a vehicle. Reported behaviors are using cell phones to make calls or send text messages, reading newspapers, sorting through CDs to play, and applying makeup.

It is vital to focus 100 percent of your attention on the road, being mindful to put your safety and the safety of your passengers and other drivers first. Drivers also need to be vigilant of changing road conditions and the behavior of other drivers who may be distracted.
The Careless Driving PA Statue: 3714 reads as follows:

Careless driving.
(a)  General rule.--Any person who drives a vehicle in careless disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of careless driving, a summary offense.

This covers any careless act such as using your phone while driving, reading a newspaper while driving, snacking while driving or adjusting the radio.

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