Safety is one of parents’ major concerns when they send their child to school, yet almost every day their child’s life is risked by carelessness on the road. School buses are perceived as a safe, cost-friendly alternative to driving children to and from school. However, careless motorists sometimes ignore the red blinking lights, stop sign, and extended front arm, and pass a school bus while it is stopped on a road, endangering the lives of the students who are boarding or exiting a school bus.
Claude Bennett, a grandfather of 6, is concerned for the well-being of his grandchildren when they take the bus to school: “On any road used by school buses, it is imperative that other vehicles stop when given the signal by the school bus driver for the safety of the children. The stop only last a few moments and is in no way inconvenient to passing vehicles.”
On Radnor Township School District’s bus routes, many buses are required to make stops on Lancaster Avenue and many other busy roads in the Township. One route, Bus 23, carries children from Radnor High School to their home. In addition to multiple stops on local roads, the bus makes two stops on Lancaster Ave. in northern Radnor Township. At least once daily, a car passes by the stopped bus, prompting a few horn honks from the bus driver. Only a few passers have been caught by the Radnor Police and issued a citation.
Radnor High student Katherine Wiedmann rides Bus 23 most days home from school. She sees the multiple cars that pass by the stopped bus and she becomes frustrated to find out that most of them are not caught: “I understand that Lancaster [Avenue] is a busy road, but when a bus is stopped and letting children out, the cars should stop. They have no way of knowing whether or not a kid is going to cross the street. By continuing to fly past the bus and ignoring the bus driver’s attempts to get them to stop, they are putting the children and themselves in danger.”
Multiple children unload from the bus at these two stops on Lancaster, but none cross the street. Even though no children walk across lanes of traffic, all vehicles should stop to prevent the possibility of an accident.
Lexi Donahue, another Radnor High student who rides the same bus, doesn’t understand how a motorist could pass a school bus when children’s lives are in danger: “I just think it is obnoxious because there's probably no way they're in THAT much of a hurry that they have to risk hitting kids getting off the bus. The rules are there for a reason, they can be patient and wait a minute so then all of the children are safe.”
In the State of Pennsylvania, it is illegal to pass a stopped a school bus when the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended. Violating this law can lead to a 6-month suspension of the motorist’s license, a hefty fine, and five points on the driver’s record.Over 1,000 motorists are found in violation of the law every year in PA.This number can be reduced if drivers paid more attention to the road and stopped for a school bus with red lights.