Making bus stops safer
Coatesville police, Krapf Bus Co. participate in ‘Operation Safe Stop’
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.
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.
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.