Of­fi­cials con­duct Op­er­a­tion ‘Safe Stop’

West Ch­ester Area School District, lo­cal po­lice de­part­ments con­duct event to ed­u­cate mo­torists, stu­dents dur­ing Na­tional School Bus Safety Week

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Pete Bannan pban­nan@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @pe­te­ban­nan on Twit­ter

As part of Na­tional School Bus Safety Week, lo­cal of­fi­cials par­tic­i­pated in Op­er­a­tion “Safe Stop.”

As part of Na­tional School Bus Safety Week, the West Ch­ester Area School District and area po­lice de­part­ments par­tic­i­pated in Op­er­a­tion “Safe Stop” to ed­u­cate mo­torists that pass­ing a stopped school bus is dan­ger­ous and il­le­gal.

Lau­rie Aguilara, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the High­way and Safety Depart­ment of Pen­nDOT and the Ch­ester County District At­tor­ney’s Of­fice, said mo­torists be­hind or 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.

While wait­ing for her chil­dren’s bus Wed­nes­day morn­ing, West White­land res­i­dent Teresa Schell­ham­mer talked about prob­lems her chil­dren have had at their bus stop on West Boot Road. Even with the school bus lights flash­ing, cars have passed the bus as it has picked up stu­dents, she said. Par­ents of­ten stand in the street try­ing to get traf­fic to stop to al­low their chil­dren to cross safely, she said.

“It wasn’t safe,” said her 8-year-old daugh­ter Emily Schell­ham­mer.

To help solve the prob­lem, school of­fi­cials moved the stop across the road so stu­dents didn’t have to cross the road to get on the bus.

“Cars pass­ing buses is a ma­jor prob­lem,” said West Ch­ester Area School District Trans­porta­tion Man­ager Joanne Yar­nall. “It hap­pens ev­ery­where. Ev­ery­body is in such a hurry.”

On Wed­nes­day morn­ing, West White­land Po­lice De­tec­tive Jeff McCloskey and Aguilara rode the school bus to Mary C. Howse Ele­men­tary School. They talked to stu­dents about school bus safety and re­minded them to sit in their as­signed seats and lis­ten to the driver. When get­ting on the bus, it’s im­por­tant to walk at least 10 feet in front of the school bus so that the

driver can see the per­son, said Aguilara.

Dur­ing the trip, a sec­ond West White­land po­lice of­fi­cer fol­lowed the bus and pre­pared to stop any mo­torist pass­ing the bus il­le­gally. The num­ber of con­vic­tions for break­ing Penn­syl­va­nia’s Bus Stop­ping Law is 701 for 2015 — up from 618 in 2014. If con­victed, a mo­torist faces a $250 fine, five points on their driv­ing record and a 60-day li­cense sus­pen­sion.

No mo­torists were stopped dur­ing the bus ride Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

Once at school, Aguilara and McCloskey passed out in­for­ma­tion and pen­cils to re­mind stu­dents to stay alert.

There are over 31,500 school buses in Penn­syl­va­nia.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Lau­rie Aguilara, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the High­way and Safety Depart­ment of Pen­nDOT, speaks to chil­dren rid­ing the school bus to Mary C. Howse Ele­men­tary School about bus safety as part of Op­er­a­tion “Safe Stop.” Op­er­a­tion “Safe Stop” is part of Na­tional School Bus Safety Week. She re­minded stu­dents to stay 10 feet in front of the bus when pass­ing in front to al­low the driver to see them.

West White­land Po­lice De­tec­tive Jeff McCloskey and Lau­rie Aguilara, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the High­way and Safety Depart­ment of Pen­nDOT, gave chil­dren rid­ing the school bus to Mary C. Howse Ele­men­tary safety in­for­ma­tion and pen­cils Wed­nes­day as part of Op­er­a­tion “Safe Stop.”

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Mary C. Howse Ele­men­tary stu­dent Ryan Schell­ham­mer speaks with West White­land Po­lice De­tec­tive Jeff McCloskey, who rode the school bus Wed­nes­day to speak to the chil­dren about school bus safety as part of Op­er­a­tion “Safe Stop.”

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

West White­land Po­lice De­tec­tive Jeff McCloskey rode the school bus to Mary C. Howse Ele­men­tary Wed­nes­day to speak to the chil­dren about school bus safety as part of Op­er­a­tion “Safe Stop.”

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