With the start of the school year the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police will be conducting a two-week proactive “Back to School Highway Safety Initiative” to help ensure children make it to and from school in a safe manner.
Motorcycle officers and traffic officers will be out in full force to help ensure motorists obey the 15 MPH school zone speed and properly stop for school buses using red flashing lights.
Commander Scott Schubert advised their message is simple, “We will do everything possible to help protect our children. Members of the Pittsburgh Police will continue to aggressively enforce school zone violations so as to ensure our young children reach school in a safe manner.
“Drivers are reminded to stay alert, drive with care and obey all laws when travelling through school zones or approaching a school bus that is picking up or dropping off children.”
Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law requires motorists to stop at least 10 feet away from school buses that have their red lights flashing and stop arm extended. Motorists must stop when they are behind the bus, meeting the bus or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped.
Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety. If physical barriers such as grassy medians, guide rails or concrete median barriers separate oncoming traffic from the bus, motorists in the opposing lanes may proceed without stopping.
Drivers who violate the law face penalties including: 60-day driver’s license suspension, five points on your driving record and a $250 fine.
“In addition to the increased officer presence, members of the Pittsburgh Police will also cite violators based on information received from school crossing guards, bus drivers, and other school officials,” Commander Schubert also advised.
Motorists must pay attention to the task at hand, and that means slowing down in school zones, and watching for children and bicyclists. Younger children aren’t able to judge speed and distance as well as adults so it’s the responsibility of drivers to be alert.
Slow down and obey all traffic laws and speed limits;
Pay attention to school zones;
When a school bus is stopped and red flashers are on, drivers in both directions are required to stop before reaching the bus and remain stopped until the flashing lights are turned off;
Watch for children walking or bicycling in the street and for youngsters gathering near bus stops;
When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, look for children walking or biking to school;
Don’t drive distracted (putting on makeup, texting, talking on the phone, etc.); and,
Don’t drive impaired;
Always use a seatbelt.
If anyone has questions regarding this Back to School Highway Safety Initiative, they may contact Zone 6/SDD Traffic Division at 412-937-3051.