Guidance for the Public to Share Road Safely with PA School Buses

Pennsylvania school bus drivers have an immense responsibility to keep their young passengers safe on their routes every day. While transporting students to and from school can sound easy enough, motorists who illegally pass school buses, or who do not follow school bus stopping laws put children in danger.

Every motorist on the road plays a part in school bus safety. Here are some essential safety tips to follow to help you community stay safe.

  1. Do not pass a school bus if it is stopped, its red lights are flashing, and the “STOP” arm is extended. While this should be a no-brainer, people still do it. On roads without a median strip, both directions are required to stop.
  2. When leaving a garage or backing out of a driveway, keep an eye out for the children at play or gathered near bus stops.
  3. Always be alert – sometimes, children are in a hurry to catch the bus and may run into the street without noticing the traffic.
  4. Stay back. As a school bus is loading or unloading passengers, keep a safe distance as much as possible. The area around 10 feet is the most dangerous for children, who, as said before, can sometimes be unpredictable.Stop at least one car length away to allow the students to get on or off the bus. That will prevent you from becoming a hazard to the bus and the students.
  5. When you see a school bus starting to slow down to make a stop where there is no traffic control, slow down as well. Don’t pass before the bus extends its arm and flashes its lights on.
  6. Remain stopped until the bus retracts its arm, turns its lights off, and starts moving again before you can resume driving.
  7. Try to see everything. Look out for kids getting off the bus. You should always be aware of what’s happening around your vehicle.
  8. Please – never, ever speed through school zones. School zones always have maximum speed limits between 15 mph to 25 mph. You might see kids playing at the schoolyards even when school is out. Always slow down when approaching a school zone.
  9. It’s always better to educate yourself on the school bus signals and laws regarding driving around school buses:
    • Yellow flashing lights indicate that the school bus is preparing to stop to load or unload students. In this case, you should also slow down and prepare to stop driving.
    • Red flashing lights and the extended “STOP” arm indicate that the bus has stopped and is loading or unloading students, no matter which side of the road you are driving. In this case, motorists on both sides of the road should stop their vehicles and wait until the bus retracts its “STOP” arm, turns off its red lights, and starts moving before motorists can start driving again.
    • All 50 states have laws indicating it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading students.

If you would like to learn other ways PA school bus drivers help keep students, as well as other community members safe, read this article.

Here at You Behind the Wheel, safety is our number one priority. If you love working with children and are interested in keeping them safe, check out job opportunities in your community at