School buses are returning to Pennsylvania roadways, prompting a reminder from PennDOT for motorists to watch out for buses and students headed to and from school.

"With students distracted by the start of a new school year, it is all too easy for them to make a mistake and dart into traffic," said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch, P.E. "So that everyone can make it safely to their destination, motorists are reminded to pay attention to students as they board and exit buses, and to obey traffic laws regarding school buses and school zones."

Motorists convicted of violating Pennsylvania's school bus stopping law face a $250 fine, five points on their driving record and a 60-day license suspension.

Under state law, motorists approaching a school bus with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended must stop at least 10 feet from the bus. Motorists approaching from all directions are required to stop. However, drivers who encounter a school bus stopping on the opposite side of a divided highway are not required to stop. Lanes of a divided highway are clearly separated by a divider, such as concrete barriers or grass medians.

Motorists must also use caution in school zones. Schools are hubs of pedestrian and vehicle traffic, so motorists are required to slow down to the posted speed limit of 15 miles per hour in school zones. Violations carry a fine and three points on the driver's record.

For more tips, visit the School Bus Safety link under the Traffic Safety Information Center on PennDOT's highway safety website at www.DriveSafePA.org [1]. The website also features an animated illustration of the school bus stopping law.