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§ 3345.  Meeting or overtaking school bus.

(a)  Duty of approaching driver when red signals are flashing.--Except as provided in subsection (g), the driver of a vehicle meeting or overtaking any school bus stopped on a highway or trafficway shall stop at least ten feet before reaching the school bus when the red signal lights on the school bus are flashing and the side stop signal arms are activated under section 4552(b.1) (relating to general requirements for school buses). The driver shall not proceed until the flashing red signal lights are no longer actuated. In no event shall a driver of a vehicle resume motion of the vehicle until the school children who may have alighted from the school bus have reached a place of safety. The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection at which a school bus is stopped shall stop his vehicle at that intersection until the flashing red signal lights are no longer actuated.

(a.1)  Reports by school bus operators.--

(1)  The operator of a school bus who observes a violation of subsection (a) may prepare a signed, written report which indicates that a violation has occurred. To the extent possible, the report shall include the following information:

(i)  Information, if any, pertaining to the identity of the alleged violator.

(ii)  The license number and color of the vehicle involved in the violation.

(iii)  The time and approximate location at which the violation occurred.

(iv)  Identification of the vehicle as an automobile, station wagon, motor truck, motor bus, motorcycle or other type of vehicle.

(2)  Within 48 hours after the violation occurs, the school bus operator shall deliver a copy of the report to a police officer having authority to exercise police power in the area where the violation occurred. If the police officer believes that the report establishes a sufficient basis for the issuance of a citation, the officer shall file a citation and the report with the issuing authority. If the issuing authority determines that the report and citation establish a sufficient basis for the issuance of a summons, a summons shall be issued in accordance with general rules governing the institution of proceedings in summary traffic offense cases. The issuing authority shall send the defendant a copy of the citation, together with a statement that it was filed by the police officer named in the citation on the basis of information received.

(3)  A person may institute a proceeding pursuant to this subsection or in accordance with any means authorized by the Rules of Criminal Procedure.

(b)  Duty of approaching driver when amber signals are flashing.--The driver of a vehicle meeting or overtaking any school bus shall proceed past the school bus with caution and shall be prepared to stop when the amber signal lights are flashing.

(c)  Use of red signals.--The red visual signals shall be actuated by the driver of every school bus whenever the vehicle is stopped on a highway or trafficway for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children, except as provided in subsections (e) and (f). The signals shall not be terminated until the school children who may have alighted from the school bus have reached a place of safety or until boarding school children have completed boarding the bus.

(d)  Use of amber signals.--The amber visual signals shall be actuated by the driver of every school bus not more than 300 feet nor less than 150 feet prior to making a stop for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children and shall remain in operation until the red visual signals are actuated. Amber signals shall not be used unless the red visual signals are to be actuated immediately following.

(e)  Limitations on use of signals.--The visual signals required in the regulations shall not be actuated on streets in urban districts designated by the department or local authorities, at intersections or other places where traffic is controlled by uniformed police officers or appropriately attired persons authorized to direct, control or regulate traffic, or in school bus loading areas designated by the department or local authorities when the bus is entirely off the roadway.

(f)  Operation for nonschool purposes.--When a school bus is being operated upon a highway for purposes other than the actual transportation of school children to or from school or in connection with school activities, all markings indicating "SCHOOL BUS" shall be covered or concealed. During such operation, the flashing visual signals shall not be actuated.

(f.1)  Use of school buses for transportation of disabled persons.--Whenever a school bus is being used upon a highway or trafficway for the transportation of disabled persons exclusively and the school bus is equipped with red signal lights, the driver of the school bus may actuate the signal lights in the same manner as set forth in this section regarding the transportation of school children. The driver of a vehicle approaching the school bus shall have the same duties regarding stopping, passing and overtaking as he does with respect to a school bus carrying school children.

(g)  Exceptions from stopping requirements.--The driver of a vehicle upon a highway or trafficway with separate roadways need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus with actuated red signal lights which is on a different roadway.

(h)  Loading zones for school children.--Every school district transporting school children by school bus shall establish and maintain school bus loading zones at or near all schools to or from which school children are transported and shall establish school bus loading zones along the highways and trafficways traversed by school buses in accordance with regulations promulgated by the department.

(i)  Mandatory use of loading zones.--Whenever school bus loading zones have been established at or near a school or along a highway or trafficway, it is unlawful for a school bus operator to stop the bus to pick up or discharge school children at any location other than at the loading zones. A list of approved loading zones for the route of the bus shall be carried by the operator.

(j)  Penalty.--A person who violates subsection (a) or (f.1) commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $250.

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(Mar. 29, 1984, P.L.155, No.30, eff. 60 days; Dec. 19, 1988, P.L.1290, No.163, eff. imd.; Dec. 21, 1998, P.L.1126, No.151, eff. 60 days; Oct. 4, 2002, P.L.845, No.123, eff. 60 days)

 

2002 Amendment.  Act 123 amended subsec. (j).

1998 Amendment.  Act 151 amended subsecs. (a), (c), (f.1), (g), (h) and (i).

1984 Amendment.  Act 30 amended subsec. (j) and added subsecs. (a.1) and (f.1).

Cross References.  Section 3345 is referred to in sections 1535, 1553, 3101, 4552, 4553, 6506 of this title.