Stop for School Buses: Law Refresh

Pennsylvania drivers can receive heavy fines for failing to stop for school buses.

Students are preparing to return to school, which means school buses will be back on the roads.

Pennsylvania law requires that drivers stop when they meet a school bus with red signal lights flashing and stop arm extended.

School Bus Stopping Law

  1. You must stop when you approach an intersection with a stopped bus with red signal lights flashing and stop arm extended.
  2. You must stop at least 10 feet away from a school bus.
  3. You must wait until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm has been withdrawn before moving.
  4. Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
  5. Wait until all the children have reached a place of safety.
  6. You must stop on roadways with painted lines.
  7. You must stop on roadways with signing dividers. 
  8. On undivided roadways, with no physical barrier or median, vehicles must stop on both sides of the roadway.  This includes 3-way and 4-way intersections, where vehicles must stop in all directions.
  9. Drivers need to remember the unpredictability of children and be on the look out for all pedestrians.   
  10. Drivers must vigilantly watch the roadway at all times, and always follow the speed limit, which may be lowered in designated school zones to 15 miles per hour.

Drivers do not have to stop on a highway with clearly divided sections or physical barriers separating the roadways, when the school bus is on the opposite side of the road.  


Those convicted of violating Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law will receive all of the following penalties:

  • 60 day driver’s license suspension
  • Five points on your driving record
  • $250 fine

Information provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Trasnsportation.

Have you observed others disregarding this law? Let Patch know your experience in the comments. 

Tom Fox August 21, 2012 at 04:00 PM
There was a law passed several years ago, I have heard from a neighbor, that when upon driving up to an intersection, if a stopped school bus is on the cross street on either side, you must stop until the buses lights etc have stopped. If you don't, from what i understand, is that the same penalties apply as if the bus was right in front of you. They were stopped by the police and ticketed on Monument Ave., Malvern, heading west at the first road or two heading from Warren Ave. in the morning around 7am-ish. There was an unmarked Malvern Police car parked at that intersection waiting for offenders. The driver was totally surprised since they were going the speed limit and unaware of the law. A few days later they went back to the intersection and found the unmarked car waiting there again. Be aware and good luck.
Anthony Wayne September 16, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Our stop in North Wayne experiences one incursion per week on average at the cross street. These are elementary students and quite young, unlike the middle and high school bus routes. The level of activity is high and even though supervised, there is much movement. The only weapon the driver appears to have, is her horn. She never documents the occurrence, consequently accurate data is nonexistent. I suspect if it was, some might be shocked. Concerned parents might consider having their phone cameras at the ready to document these incursions, if so, where specifically might the pictures and or video be sent? I know there is a anonymous tip line. Can that receive email?
Lindsay at Flag Lady Gifts September 17, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Thank you for the timely reminders! I was myself guilty of the situation that Tom Fox mentions and was totally confused as to why the parents were waving at me with dirty looks. I thought "Hey, I'm well in front of the bus; what is the problem??"


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