Safety of school children is a critical matter for all local school districts as well as local police departments.
The Abington School District and the Abington Township Police Department worked together again as part of the annual Operation Safe Stop. This year, the event took place on October 24th.
This initiative was “part of National School Bus Safety Week and was organized by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT),” according to Ms. Allie Artur, Communications Coordinator of the Abington School District. “This is a public awareness and enforcement effort to educate the motoring public that passing a stopped school bus, when children are loading or unloading, is both dangerous and illegal. Each year, through Operation Safe Stop, law enforcement agencies, school transportation providers, pupil transportation associations and PennDOT have combined their efforts to raise public awareness about the potential consequences and reduce the occurrence of illegal school bus passes.”
Two of the Abington Township Police officers that participated in Operation Safe Stop in 2018 were, from left to right, Officer Chris Posey and Officer Al Freed. The officers were photographed at the Abington School District bus garage.
“As part of the efforts by the Abington School District, problem areas were identified by the District’s Supervisor of Transportation,” explained Ms. Artur. She indicated that police officers monitored those trouble spots in order to find those who violate the School Bus Stopping Law. Additionally, Ms. Artur explained that bus drivers monitored the situations for any traffic violations.
“Student safety is always a top priority for Abington School District, especially when it comes to transportation, and we appreciate having the opportunity to partner with our local Abington Township Police Department and the Department of Transportation on this important awareness initiative each year,” stated Mr. Charles Rehm, Supervisor of Transportation for the Abington School District. “Operation Safe Stop might only be a one-day campaign, but its message should resonate with the motoring public year-round: Passing a stopped school bus, when children are loading or unloading, is both dangerous and illegal.”
According to the PennDOT website, “Pennsylvania’s School Bus Stopping Law requires motorists to 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 the bus, meeting the 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,” the PennDOT website continues. “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.”
Most drivers appeared to follow these traffic laws in Abington.
During their detail on October 24th, the Abington Township Police Department found only one violation; there were no arrests.
The photograph of the two police officers is courtesy of the Abington School District, 2018.