Children routinely have to cross the street to board their school bus. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, nearly 1.5 million children are conveyed via roads daily. Under Pennsylvania’s school bus stop law when a school bus is stopped, has its stop sign extended out and flashing lights, on drivers approaching the intersection must stop and let the children cross. However, there are times when a driver may ignore this law and overtake the stopped bus, causing a serious accident which may result in needless serious injury and even the death of a child.
In fact, according to police, recently an 18-year-old driver in a SUV hit and killed a 16-year-old girl as she was crossing an intersection to board her school bus. The preliminary police investigation indicates that even though the school bus had its stop sign arm extended and flashing lights on, the 18-year-old driver, who was allegedly driving toward the bus and had a green light, disregarded these signs and continued to proceed through the intersection, striking the 16-year-old girl.
The police investigation is ongoing and law enforcement is reconstructing the scene of the accident, looking into any potential mechanical anomalies with the 18-year-old’s SUV which may have prevented it from stopping. Additionally, police are looking into whether or not the 18-year-old driver was a distracted driver or operating under the influence. Since the investigation is ongoing and pending toxicology results, no charges were brought against the driver in the immediate aftermath of the collision.
According to the Department of Transportation, every year well over 1,000 drivers fail to observe the school bus stopping law. Though criminal and civil penalties can be pursued against a negligent driver, a lost life cannot be brought back.
Source: NBC, “No Charges for Teen Driver Day After School Bus Stop Crash That Left Bucks County Girl Dead,” Dan Stamm, Dec. 18, 2014