Students, Drivers Honored at Pennsylvania School Bus Safety Awards

Oct 23, 2013, 13:30 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

Governor Corbett Proclaims Oct. 21-25 School Bus Safety Week in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett has proclaimed Oct. 21-25 as School Bus Safety Week in Pennsylvania, and as part of that commemoration, student artists and school bus drivers were honored today at a ceremony at the Governor's Residence.

PennDOT and Pennsylvania State Police officials honored 11 students as 2013 School Bus Safety Poster Contest winners and six school-bus drivers as 2013 Pennsylvania School Bus Driver Safety Competition winners.

"Through their posters, these creative young students are helping us communicate important safety messages," said PennDOT Executive Deputy Secretary for Administration Brad Mallory. "Their artwork is a reminder to all of us that remaining alert and exercising common sense around school buses can save young lives."

The theme for this year's contest, "At My Stop – You Stop!" stressed the need for motorists to exercise caution near school bus stops and obey Pennsylvania's School Bus Stopping Law.

This year's winners were chosen from more than 600 public-and private-school student entries. The first-place entries will be forwarded to a national competition to be judged at the end of this month.

Awards were presented by Mallory, PennDOT Safety Administration Deputy Secretary Kurt J. Myers and the Pennsylvania State Police's Commercial Vehicle Safety Division Director Lt. Raymond Cook.

Certificates and governor's citations were also presented to the winning school-bus drivers. Held each June, the competition tests school bus drivers' knowledge of safety rules and safe operation of their buses.

During today's ceremony, Cook also announced that "Operation Safe Stop," a statewide initiative among local and state law enforcement agencies, school districts and student transportation agencies to enforce and raise awareness of Pennsylvania's School Bus Stopping Law, is being conducted today. Police are watching for motorists who violate the school bus stopping law.

At any time, school bus drivers can document any illegal passes occurring on their routes and file reports with local police, who can issue citations. During Operation Safe Stop, drivers are encouraged to be vigilant about reporting violators.

In 2012, more than 720 motorists were convicted of violating Pennsylvania's school bus stopping law. The same year, there were 393 school bus crashes resulting in three fatalities. No school bus passengers or school bus drivers were killed. School bus drivers in Pennsylvania traveled nearly 400 million miles during school year 2011-12, transporting more than 1.5 million students daily.

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

For more information about school bus safety, visit PennDOT's highway safety website,, and select the "School Bus Safety" link under the Traffic Safety Information Center. The website also offers an interactive feature illustrating Pennsylvania's school bus stopping law.

Media contacts
Jan McKnight, 717-787-0485
Craig Yetter, 717-705-1092

Editor's Note: A list of winners for the poster contest and driver safety competition follows:

2013 School Bus Safety Poster Contest Winners

Division 1 (Grades Kindergarten – 2)

First Place: Tarun Kumar, Franklin Elementary School, Sewickley, Allegheny County
Second Place: Lauren Mark, Elmwood Elementary School, Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County 
Third Place: Kelsie Taylor, Glenside Elementary School, Glenside, Montgomery County

Division 2 (Grades 3-5)

First Place: Eric Mole, Bradford Woods Elementary School, Bradford Woods, Allegheny County
Second Place: Thomas Palotas, St. Luke School, Erie, Erie County
Third Place: Ava St. John, Wyncote Elementary School, Elkins Park, Montgomery County

Division 3 (Grades 6-8)

First Place: Morgan Hechler, Mechanicsburg Middle School, Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County
Second Place: Daniel Hagenbuch, Mechanicsburg Middle School, Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County
Third Place: Joel Colledge, Everett Area Middle School, Everett, Bedford County

Division 4 (Special Education)

First Place: Slade Gilbert, West Forest Elementary School, Tionesta, Forest County
Second Place: Chevelle Hinderliter, West Forest Elementary School, Tionesta, Forest County 

2013 PA School Bus Driver Safety Competition Winners

Conventional Bus

First Place: Larry Hannon, Centennial School District, Bucks County
Second Place: Cheryl Glass, Methacton School District, Montgomery County
Third Place: Karl Peters, Krapf Bus Companies, Chester County

Transit Bus

First Place: John Choffel Jr., Girardat, LP, Crawford County
Second Place: John Welsh, Lower Merion School District, Montgomery County
Third Place: Arlen Sanden, First Student, Inc., Erie County 

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Transportation