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Safety Citizens Program

Become a Safety Citizen by partnering with PennDOT in encouraging others to practice safe behaviors on the road. This virtual community outreach program invites Pennsylvanians to express their creativity while responding to traffic safety questions posed bi-monthly. Every other month, we'll request a response using a different medium such as video, poem, drawing and more. Selected responses will be shared on PennDOT's social media platforms.

We Want to Hear from You!

How do you stay safe in or around school buses?

This month participants are asked to create a video or submit original art to bring awareness to the importance of staying safe around school busses. Answer the question above with your art and submit it below!

Submissions Due September 30, 2021

School Bus Safety

School bus safety is a high priority in Pennsylvania. Students, parents, teachers, administrators, transportation personnel, and the motoring public all play important roles in keeping our children safe while on or around the school bus.

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, 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or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing, the stop arm is withdrawn, and all children have reached safety.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 if convicted of violating Pennsylvania's School Bus Stopping Law include:

Tips for Parents/Students

  • 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. Line up at least five giant steps away from the curb or the roadway to wait for the bus.
  • 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.
  • Be aware — cross with care! Wait until the school bus has stopped all traffic before stepping out onto the road.
  • When the school bus is moving, always stay in your seat. Never put your head, arms or hands out of the window.
  • Talk quietly; do not distract your school bus driver.
  • If your school bus crosses railroad tracks, be calm and quiet so that your driver can listen for a train. Always obey your school bus driver's instructions, so that they can make safe decisions.
  • Never play with the emergency exits. Backpacks, band instruments, or sports equipment may not block the aisle or emergency exits. 
  • When getting off the school bus, make sure that all drawstrings and other loose objects are secure so that they don't get caught on the handrail or the door.
  • Never cross the street behind the school bus.
  • If you leave something on the bus or drop something outside of the bus, never go back for it. The driver may not see you and begin moving the bus.
  • Never speak to strangers at the bus stop and never get into the car with a stranger.

National School Bus Safety Week

Each year, PennDOT participates in National School Bus Safety Week, which will be celebrated this year from October 18-22, 2021. For more information on School Bus Safety Week, visit National Association for Pupil Transportation.

Operation Safe Stop

Each year, during National School Bus Safety Week, PennDOT works with Pennsylvania State and municipal police departments to conduct Operation Safe Stop. Operation Safe Stop is a proactive approach to educate the motoring public that passing a stopped school bus, when children are loading or unloading, is dangerous and illegal.

On this day, we hope all school districts will participate by having their drivers document any illegal passes occurring on their routes during the day. If possible, the drivers should get identifying information regarding the vehicle and file the information with local authorities.


Submissions

  • Video responses should be no longer than 30 seconds with a file of size of no larger than 30MB. 
  • Original artwork should be submitted as a PDF, JPG, or PNG and the file should be no larger than 30MB. 
  • PennDOT reserves the right to not post a submission for any reason. If a submission is not used for a particular reason the participant will be contacted and given the option of sending a new submission. 
  • All submissions must be the original work of the submitter and must not infringe on the rights of third-parties, including but not limited to, intellectual property rights. By participating in the program, the participant accepts responsibility for any third-party intellectual property claims which may arise from the submission and agrees to hold PennDOT harmless from such claims.
  • PennDOT does not provide financial assistance for supplies, materials or other items associated with this program.

  • Submit Content

Past Topics:

Teen Driver Safety, Impaired Driving, Highway Safety Laws, and Distracted Driving

Thank you everyone for your submissions! If you would like to view all the previous posts search #SafetyCitizens on Twitter and Facebook. 

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