Berks County drivers need to be alert for school buses, walking students

Reading Eagle:  Published 08/24/2016, Herman, Holly, Web

As summer winds down, motorists must be back on high alert for school buses.  “When the buses have the flashing red lights on, motorists must yield to the buses until the lights have gone off,” said PennDOT spokesman Sean Brown. “You can receive a citation for not stopping for buses. This is really about safety.”  If convicted of violating Pennsylvania’s school bus stopping law, drivers face a $250 fine, 5 points on their driving record and a 60-day license suspension.

Brown said drivers also must be aware of students walking.  “If a pedestrian is within a crosswalk, the motorist must yield,” he said. “Kids are kids, and sometimes they walk out into traffic.”

Buses were on the roads in the Brandywine Heights School District on Tuesday for the first day of school.  Brian R. Pawling, business manager, said the district has more than 20 bus routes for about 1,000 students in Longswamp, District and Rockland townships. Pawling said drivers unexpectedly may come upon stopped school buses or children crossing roads to get to buses.  “We want motorists to be aware that school has started and to be on the lookout for signs posted for school bus stops,” Pawling said. “The speed limits are lower on the back roads. We want drivers to be careful.”

Dr. Randall A. Grove, Conrad Weiser School District superintendent, advised motorists to take extra time when Weiser students return to school on Monday because of an ongoing $13.5 million construction project on Route 422 in western Berks.  “The crews can’t suspend the road project during the school year,” Grove said. “Route 422 runs right down the middle of our district. We are prepared for a challenge. Drivers should leave early and give a little extra time.”  Grove said bus drivers will be getting on the roads early to accommodate delays from the construction. Work crews have been alerted to the opening of school and have been asked to try to get buses through as quickly as possible.

Dr. Robert E. Phillips, Exeter School District superintendent, said he received calls last school year from parents concerned that motorists were not stopping at flashing bus lights on Route 562.  “Sometimes the young kids are crossing the road to get on the bus on busy streets,” he said. “Drivers have to obey the blinking light. Everyone wants to get where you are going, but you may have to give yourself a few minutes. Those few minutes can save a life.”

School resumes Monday for Exeter students.

Robert Scoboria, assistant superintendent who handles transportation for the Boyertown School District, said there are 85 buses in the district’s fleet.

Boyertown is one of the bigger local districts, with 7,000 students and 100 square miles.  “Motorists should be aware that the buses will be back on the roads on Monday,” he said.

The lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., are concerned for the safety of students, parents and our friends and neighbors walking and driving on the roads in Berks County and Schuylkill County and serve auto, truck and motorcycle accident victims and their families in Reading, PA, Pottsville, PA, and throughout Eastern and Central Pennsylvania.

From the desk of Adam K. Levin, Esquire.

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