The roads will soon be filling with school buses carrying eager children to their first day. The Pennsylvania School Bus Association (PSBA) is reminding drivers to share the road and the laws that require such behavior.

In the upcoming weeks, more than 1.5 million students will be taking the black and yellow vehicles across the state which may affect a usual commute.

“Allow children to be safe by ensuring you, as a Pennsylvania motorist, stop for school buses boarding children. Failing to do so jeopardizes much more than just your privilege to drive in the Commonwealth,” Fred Bennett, PSBA President and owner of Fishing Creek Transportation said in a statement.

The PSBA was founded in 1980 and has since established a 350 school bus contractors and industry partnership. Pennsylvania is among the top states with privately operated school bus fleets. According to the PSBA, 80 percent of school districts in the Keystone state chose private school bus operators for their transportation system.

Mike Berk, PSBA Executive Director, believes a school bus commute is the safest mode of transportation for students. The organization has more than 45,000 license school bus drivers in the state.

“We (PSBA) just try to bring everyone together,” added Berk, who has been with the organization for three years.

The PSBA offers annual conventions, trade shows, webinars and regular regional meetings and events. The organization also offers research guidance with PA legislation or issues when dealing with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to members.

This year National School Bus Safety Week is October 16 to 20, which is another way local contractors connect with school districts to promote safe travel.

“The illegal passing of school buses is a major concern so we are just asking motorists to keep an extra eye out.”

According to PennDOT, the following laws apply when a school bus occupies the road:

  • There must be 10 feet distance from the bus’s red lights flashing/top arm extended and your vehicle
  • Motorists must come to a complete stop when behind a bus, meeting a bus or approaching an intersection where a bus is stopped
  • All rules apply until all children have reached safety
  • Only when physical barriers (grass medians, guide rails or concrete median barriers) separate the driver and a school bus can opposing lanes proceed

Penalties according to PennDOT include:

  • $250 fine
  • Five points on your license
  • 60-day license suspension