Mak­ing bus stops safer

Coatesville po­lice, Krapf Bus Co. par­tic­i­pate in ‘Op­er­a­tion Safe Stop’

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Gin­ger Rae Dun­bar gdun­bar@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @GingerDun­bar on Twit­ter

Three Coatesville po­lice of­fi­cers par­tic­i­pated in the “Op­er­a­tion Safe Stop” on Wed­nes­day with em­ploy­ees from the Krapf Bus Co. to en­sure stu­dent safety as part of Na­tional School Bus Safety Week.

Pen­nDOT con­ducted “Op­er­a­tion Safe Stop” in com­mu­ni­ties across the com­mon­wealth to raise public aware­ness and en­force­ment ef­forts to ed­u­cate the public and mo­torists that pass­ing a stopped school bus, when chil­dren are load­ing or un­load­ing, is both dan­ger­ous and il­le­gal.

Lt. James Audette, Sgt. Rodger

Ol­lis and Of­fi­cer Robert Kuech, all of the Coatesville Po­lice Depart­ment, par­tic­i­pated. An of­fi­cer rode the bus and an­other of­fi­cer fol­lowed the bus in a pa­trol car to Scott Mid­dle School. Coatesville po­lice, along with other Ch­ester County po­lice depart­ments dur­ing Na­tional School Bus Safety Week from Oct. 17-21, rode the bus in the morn­ing and in the af­ter­noon.

“We want our stu­dents to get to school and get home safely,” Ol­lis said. “Rais­ing mo­torists’ aware­ness, part­ner­ing with bus driv­ers and the trans­porta­tion

safety team, and ef­fec­tively en­forc­ing the rules of the road are es­sen­tial.”

Ol­lis rode the bus with the stu­dents. Audette thanked Krapf for of­fer­ing the po­lice the “neat” ex­pe­ri­ence. He fol­lowed the bus and did not see any driv­ers in vi­o­la­tion.

“It was a cool ex­pe­ri­ence for the kids to have a po­lice of­fi­cer on the bus,” Audette said.

Pen­nDOT an­nounced that yearly through “Op­er­a­tion Safe Stop,” law en­force­ment agen­cies, school trans­porta­tion providers, stu­dent trans­porta­tion as­so­ci­a­tions and Pen­nDOT have com­bined ef­forts to raise public aware­ness about the po­ten­tial con­se­quences and re­duce the oc­cur­rence of il­le­gal school bus passes.

Coatesville po­lice ex­pressed their grat­i­tude to the Krapf Bus­ing Co. for al­low­ing them to par­tic­i­pate with the staff.

“‘Op­er­a­tion Safe Stop’ in­cludes a com­bi­na­tion of ed­u­ca­tion, preven­tion and en­force­ment,” Ol­lis said. “We ap­pre­ci­ate Krapf’s Bus­ing for of­fer­ing us the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram.”

With the start of the 2016-17 school year, state Sen. An­drew Din­ni­man, D-19, of West White­land, re­minded mo­torists of Penn­syl­va­nia’s School Bus Stop­ping Law in an ef­fort to keep the stu­dents safe. Din­ni­man is seek­ing re-elec­tion this Novem­ber against

Repub­li­can Jack Lon­don of Avon­dale.

“This is ba­sic com­mon sense and a rule that most driv­ers know and obey,” Din­ni­man said. “Still each year, kids are in­jured or even killed be­cause a driver isn’t pay­ing at­ten­tion or tries to pass a school bus.”

Pen­nDOT’s web­site states the fol­low­ing un­der Penn­syl­va­nia’s School Bus Stop­ping Law:

• Mo­torists must 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 a 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.

• Do not pro­ceed un­til all the chil­dren have reached a place of safety.

The penal­ties for vi­o­lat­ing Penn­syl­va­nia’s School Bus Stop­ping Law in­clude a 60-day li­cense sus­pen­sion, five points on your driv­ing record and a $250 fine.

“An­nu­ally more than 1,000 mo­torists are cited for not obey­ing the School Bus Stop­ping Law,” Din­ni­man said. “That is far too many.

Ac­cord­ing to Pen­nDOT, 1.5 mil­lion chil­dren are trans­ported on Penn­syl­va­nia roads each day, and over the course of the school year, they will be trans­ported more than 400 mil­lion miles.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Penn­syl­va­nia’s School Bus Stop­ping Law and other driv­ing and bus safety tips, visit www.just­drivepa.org/ traf­fic-safety-in­for­ma­tion­cen­ter/school-bus-safety.

Visit Daily Lo­cal News staff writer Gin­ger Rae Dun­bar’s blog about jour­nal­ism and vol­un­teer­ing as a fire­fighter at Fire­fight­erGinger.blogspot.com.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Of­fi­cers from the Coatesville Po­lice Depart­ment par­tic­i­pated in the Op­er­a­tion Safe Stop with Krapf Bus Co. by rid­ing the school bus on Wed­nes­day to Scott Mid­dle School in the morn­ing and from the school in the af­ter­noon to the bus stops. Pic­tured from left to right are: Stephanie Mitchell, op­er­a­tions man­ager for Krapf Bus Co.; Coatesville Lt. James Audette; Jami Had­field, Krapf school bus driver; Sgt. Rodger Ol­lis and Sue Liskey, safety of­fi­cer for Krapf Bus Co.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Pic­tured with po­lice are Stephanie Mitchell, op­er­a­tions man­ager for Krapf Bus Co.; Danyel Stutz­man, the bus driver; Lori Aguil­era and Sue Liskey, safety of­fi­cer for Krapf Bus Co. Coatesville po­lice are Lt. James Audette, Sgt. Rodger Ol­lis and Of­fi­cer Robert Kuech.

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