Clearfield, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania State Police, Ferguson Township and State College Police Departments celebrated “Love the Bus,” a program highlighting the importance of school buses and bus drivers in education, at local elementary schools this month.

“School buses are the safest way for kids to get to and from school thanks in no small part to the work of bus drivers,” said Trooper Bruce Morris, Community Service Officer for Troop C. “This program allows us to show our appreciation for those drivers while at the same time reminding the public that school bus safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

During the celebrations, which were held this month at Clearfield, Ferguson Township, and Easterly Parkway elementary schools, students received Valentines to give their bus drivers as a way of saying thank you. Officers gave the students these, and other, tips for students while on or near a bus:

  • Get to the school bus stop five minutes early so you won’t have to run across the road to catch the bus.
  • When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic and line up at least five giant steps away from the curb.
  • Never run after the school bus if it has already left the bus stop.
  • Never push when getting on or off the school bus.
  • Always walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing so that the school bus driver can see you.
  • When the school bus is moving, always stay in your seat. Never put your head, arms or hands out the window.
  • Never play with the emergency exits. Backpacks, band instruments, or sports equipment may not block the aisle or emergency exits. If there is an emergency, listen to the driver and follow instructions.
  • Never cross the street behind the school bus.

PennDOT reminds motorists the states’ School Bus Stopping Law requires they stop at least 10 feet away from school buses that have their red lights flashing and stop arm extended. Motorists must also stop when they are behind a bus, meeting the bus or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped, and those 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or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety.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 a physical barrier such as a grassy median, guide rail or concrete median separates oncoming traffic from the bus, motorists in the opposing lanes may proceed without stopping.

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In the photo, Trooper Morris speaks with Clearfield Elementary first graders about school bus safety.