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Students and Drivers Honored at School Bus Safety Awards Ceremony

On October 21, 2015, twelve students and six bus drivers were honored at the Pennsylvania School Bus Safety Awards ceremony hosted in the home of Governor Tom Wolf.

The student honorees, ranging from grades kindergarten to eighth grade, received acknowledgement for their winning entries in the 2015 School Bus Safety Poster Contest. The theme for the contest was “Bully Free Zone!” which pushed for bully- and harassment-free buses and bus stops. These students, whose posters were selected from 623 other public and private school poster entries, are helping to disseminate the message of respect.

In accordance with the award ceremony, the governor also proclaimed October 19-23 as School Bus Safety Week.

Like the students, the bus drivers being honored received acknowledgement as well. PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards and Captain Michael A. Patrick, Assistant Director of the Bureau of Patrol, Pennsylvania State Police, presented certificates and Governor’s citations to the six selected drivers for winning the 2015 Pennsylvania School Bus Driver Safety Competition. The competition is comprised of a test in which drivers’ knowledge of safety rules and the safe operation of their buses is examined.

Captain Patrick also announced during the awards ceremony that “Operation Safe Stop” would be implemented statewide that day. Essentially, local and state law enforcement agencies, school districts and student transportation agencies will team up to create further awareness about the importance of properly stopping at school buses. Police officers will be on duty searching for any driver who disobeys the stopping law. Bus drivers, too, can report illegal conduct.

The proper stopping procedure is when any car sees a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended, the car must stop at least 10 feet from the bus. This rule applies to vehicles approaching the bus from any way, with the exception of vehicles separated from the bus by a grassy or concrete median.

Knowing how to properly stop for a bus can not only ensure you are following state law, but also prevent endangering any lives.