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Convictions for School Bus Stop Arm Violations Surge by 47% in Pennsylvania in 2022

Convictions for passing school buses with their stop arms activated in Pennsylvania witnessed a substantial 47% increase in 2022, according to data provided by the state.

Kara Templeton, the Deputy Secretary for Driver and Vehicle Services at the Department of Transportation, disclosed that a total of 511 Pennsylvania residents faced penalties for violating this law in 2022, as compared to 348 in 2021. Templeton made these remarks during an event held on October 18 to raise awareness about school transportation safety, where she also highlighted that law enforcement and bus drivers collectively observed 164 incidents of such violations in a single day.

Templeton emphasized the importance of this issue during a news conference on Monday discussing the outcomes of Operation Safe Stop. She stated, “Now just imagine how many incidents go unreported, and that should give you an idea of why we are here today.”

This information emerges in the wake of a reported incident where a 7-year-old girl was struck while boarding a school bus in Crawford County. The young girl was subsequently transported to Meadville Medical Center to receive treatment for injuries to her face and legs, as confirmed by state troopers.

Kara Templeton underscored the severity of such incidents, remarking, “The tragic fact is that too often drivers ignore the warning lights on school buses and try to pass them, which puts our children in jeopardy. This is simply not acceptable.”

On the same day as Operation Safe Stop, the Pennsylvania state Legislature reauthorized support for the use of cameras on school bus stop arms to fine motorists who disregard the stop signs. The governor enacted this legislation one day before the program was set to expire on October 24.

These cameras are designed to impose a fine of $300 on violators, with $250 allocated to the school for camera maintenance, $25 to the local police department, and $25 for a school bus safety grant program.

The legislation also outlines the appeals process for motorists who receive fines, clarifying that vehicle owners are not held liable if they were not the driver or if the camera was found to be out of compliance with accuracy, certification, or calibration standards. Police are responsible for verifying that a violation indeed occurred.

Incidents like the one in Crawford County are unfortunately not isolated cases, as children have been injured or killed while waiting at their school bus stops in various instances across the state. For example, in February, a 6-year-old girl in Westmoreland County lost her life while waiting for the bus. In December, a student in Cambria County was injured while waiting for the bus when a car collided with a postal truck in heavy fog, sending the vehicle into the student. In another tragic event, a York County student was killed two weeks after the incident, when a driver struck another student while he was biking to school. Additionally, students in Butler County, Berks County, and Westmoreland County have also suffered injuries while on their way to school.

Factors such as speed, inadequate road design, the absence of crosswalks, and a shortage of crossing guards have all been identified as contributing to these accidents.

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Melissa S. Reynolds 1983-2024

In her spare time Melissa enjoyed knitting and wood burning, she loved caring for her puppy dogs, and was known for singing karaoke at the beach.

Phyllis Hauck Price 1945-2024

Born April 20, 1945, Phyllis enjoyed gardening, buying and selling antiques, baking, and taking care of the home for her family.

Miriam H. Lehman 1930-2024

In addition to being a loving mother and wife, Miriam had a beautiful singing voice and was a beautiful, faithful, prayerful woman of God.

Esther L. Freeman 1941-2024

Esther was a member of Greencastle Church of the Brethren. Esther enjoyed playing bingo and antiquing with her son Tim.

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