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Poster, driving contests highlight school bus safety

January 16, 2019
By: Ellerie Krot


In October, PennDOT partnered with the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Silver Spring Township Police Department, and Cumberland Valley School District transportation partners to conduct events for Operation Safe Stop and our annual School Bus Safety poster contest.

Operation Safe Stop is intended to highlight the importance of school transportation safety and point out the potential challenges of school transportation when it comes to changing daylight conditions. The events are held with local and state police departments, school districts, and student transportation to place appropriate enforcement and raise awareness for the consequences of improper safety.

"Local school districts work hard to identify the safest locations possible for school bus stops and to train their staff," said Dr. David Volkman, Executive Deputy Secretary, Department of Education, in a news release. "But to ensure that students remain out of harm's way, we urge all drivers to watch for flashing lights of school buses and to always stop when students are getting on and off."

The School Bus Stopping Law requires that all motorists traveling from all directions stop at least 10 feet away from the bus when approaching a school bus with its red lights flashing and a stop sign extended. The results of Operation Safe Stop showed 147 violations of the law that were reported by school districts and law enforcement agencies. Motorists traveling from the opposite side of a divided highway are not required to stop.

"We unfortunately saw more people breaking the School Bus Stopping Law last year so we're reminding motorists of its importance," said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. "With additional challenges such as darkness coinciding with more students' school bus ride times and the distraction of the quickly approaching holiday season, it is important that motorists remain vigilant whole sharing the road with school buses and students."

PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Driver and Vehicle Services Kurt Meyers and other Pennsylvania school bus safety advocates honored nine students for their school bus safety posters and six school bus drivers for their excellent safe-driving skills. The driving competition is held each June for school bus drivers to test their knowledge and skills on school bus safety and safe operations of their school buses.

The winners of the School Bus Safety poster contest were chosen from 352 public and private schools. Students in kindergarten through eighth grade participated in the contest with a theme of "My School Bus, the Safest Form of Transportation."

The student winners of 2018:

  • Division 1 — K-2
    • First: Maya Bearden, Eagleville Elementary School, Eagleville, Montgomery County
    • Second: Amanda Sommer, Conneaut Valley Elementary School, Pine Grove, Schuylkill County
    • Third: Kaylynn Fidler, Pine Grove Area Elementary School, Pine Grove, Schuylkill County
  • Division 2 — 3-5
    • First: Alivia Spitz, Reiffton School, Reading, Berks County
    • Second: Sally Nguyen, Reiffton School, Reading, Berks County
    • Third: Lee Edgell, Friendship Hill Elementary School, Port Marion, Fayette County
  • Division 3 — 6-8
    • First: Lauren Schmader, Brockway Area Jr/Sr High School, Brockway, Jefferson County
    • Second: Desteny Keiser, Upper Dauphin Area Middle School, Lykens, Dauphin County
    • Third: Emalie Brown, Upper Dauphin Area Middle School, Lykens, Dauphin County

The school bus driver winners of 2018:

  • Conventional Bus
    • First: Shanon O'Brien, Chester County, Krapf Bus Companies
    • Second: Larry Hannon, Sr., Bucks County, Krapf Bus Companies
    • Third: Larry Hannon, Jr., Bucks County, Krapf Bus Companies
  • Transit Bus
    • First: Micahel Webster, Lebanon County, Brightbill Transportation
    • Second: Ruth Del Vecchio, Chester County, Krapf Bus Companies
    • Third: Beth McGowan, Montgomery County, Lower Merion School District

For more information on school transportation, visit our School Bus Safety Tips page.

Winners of the school bus driving contest standing with their certificates, from left, Mike Webster, Larry Hannon Jr., Shanon O'Brien, Larry Hannon Sr., Ruth Del Vecchio, and Beth McGowan.
Winners of the school bus driving contest, from left, Mike Webster, Larry Hannon Jr., Shanon O'Brien, Larry Hannon Sr., Ruth Del Vecchio, and Beth McGowan.

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