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Police watching for school bus light violators

October 14, 2000

Police watching for school bus light violators



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer


WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Washington Township Police will make a special effort beginning Monday to crack down on drivers who ignore the flashing lights on school buses, Officer Robert Wertz said Friday.

The department expects to have two or three cruisers patrol areas where most school bus drivers complain that motorists fail to stop for their flashing lights when picking up or discharging schoolchildren.

Pa. 16, which runs east to west through the township from Waynecastle to Blue Ridge Summit, will be the focus of the effort, Wertz said.

Called "Operation Safe Stop," the program is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation each year, he said. Its purpose is to make motorists aware of the dangers of passing stopped school buses when the buses' red lights are flashing.

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"Passing a stopped school bus is not only dangerous, it is also illegal," Wertz said.

The penalty is a $100 fine plus costs, he said.

Motorists can be charged when a police officer observes them illegally passing a school bus, Wertz said. In addition, a special Pennsylvania law provides for arrests on complaints by school bus drivers who can either identify the driver or report a license tag number, Wertz said.

In the last 12 months complaints against motorists were lodged by seven school bus drivers, resulting in two arrests, Wertz said.

No schoolchildren have been injured by motorists illegally passing a school bus in the township in the last five years, he said.

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