Fall is once again upon us and brings the presence of school buses and kids on their way to and from school. Unfortunately each year we hear of more and more accidents involving school buses and school kids. National statistics show an average of nearly 7500 injuries a year resulting from accidents involving school transportation systems. 2020 was the lowest year in a decade with 4800 injuries. We have had several accidents in our own township over the last few years as well. Thankfully, we have not had any injuries due to these accidents, but they do cause a significant amount of stress for all involved until we know that no one is hurt or worse.
Everyone has seen videos on television or on the internet of reckless drivers ignoring the traffic control signals of buses and driving around them, near misses of children getting on or off the buses, etc.
Please be aware of buses and their signals. Unfortunately many do not seem to know when they are required to stop for buses. Note the image to the right from the Pennsylvania Dept of Transportation. In all areas within Fairview Township, you will be required to stop when a school bus has its red lights on and sign out to load and unload students.
Keeping your distance from school buses is another key as well. It’s easiest to see the warning lights on the buses when you have some distance between your vehicle and the buses. And drivers should NEVER speed out around a bus whether it’s warning lights are on or not.
Crosswalks in school zones are another spot of particular safety concern. In Fairview, the school district has added flashing lights at the two crosswalks that students use to cross route 98. Please be observant of those lights, stop and wait for the students to cross the road entirely before starting to move.
The speed limit in School Zones in the Commonwealth of PA is 15 MPH when the school zone lights are flashing indicating school is getting ready to start for the day or students are being released. All too often drivers are observed using excessing speeds through school zones all over the nation. Even our emergency vehicles responding to emergencies have to slow to 15 MPH when traveling through a school zone when the signals are flashing.