Bus Patrol - What is it and how can you steer clear of this serious violation?

It's no secret - the safety of the children in Upper Moreland Township is a primary concern for the community.  That's why the Upper Moreland Police Department puts such a strong emphasis on meeting with our younger population, educating them on ways to keep themselves safe, and enforcing laws that are intended to keep them out of harm's way.  On a daily basis, you will see our officers enforcing speed limits in school zones, conducting safety presentations in and out of the classroom, walking through the school buildings, properly installing car seats, and interacting with young people at any one of our many township parks, to name a few.  However, a growing trend has caused the Upper Moreland School District, as well as many other school districts in our area and across the state, to enroll in the Bus Patrol program.

The Upper Moreland Police Department and the Upper Moreland School District have received countless complaints from parents and concerned citizens about the number of motorists who pass our school buses while they are loading and unloading children.  In the past, the Upper Moreland Police Department would follow these buses or sit at specific bus stops to observe these violations and cite the motorists responsible.  Not only is this violation extremely dangerous, especially for the children who have to cross the street from their residence to get on or off the bus, but PennDOT also issues some of its harshest penalties for this violation. If a police officer witnesses you violating this section of the vehicle code and pulls you over on sight, if found guilty, you will be subject to:

  • $250 fine
  • Five points on your driving record
  • Mandatory 60-day license suspension

The Upper Moreland Police Department will still take an active role in following buses that are experiencing a high number of violations.  However, to better utilize our resources and to more adequately address the magnitude of the problem, the police department, in partnership with the school district, enrolled in the Bus Patrol program.  Bus Patrol outfits every school bus in the district with cameras and technology that capture videos and images of violating vehicles and their license plates. 

Once these violations are vetted by Bus Patrol and the police department, a civil citation is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.  This violation does NOT carry the same penalties that are listed above.  This civil citation is a $300 fine to the vehicle owner, which does not carry points or affect your drivers license.  More information on the law as it pertains to these violations can be found here.

So when do you have to stop for a school bus?  Section 3345 of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code explains that a motorist that is approaching a school bus with its red lights activated must stop at least 10-feet before reaching the bus and remain stopped until the red lights are no longer active.  Please note that the law does not mention anything about the stop arm or retractable stop sign - the lights on the front and rear of the bus are the indicators on when to stop.  Additionally, any motorist that is approaching a school bus with its yellow/amber lights activated must proceed with caution and prepare to stop.  But what if you're at an intersection?  How about if you're on the opposite side of a busy highway?  These questions can be confusing to some drivers.  Check out the illustrations below...



Please help us keep our roadways and children safer by being attentive and cautious around school buses.  For more information on school bus safety, the law, and things you can do to better prepare yourself as a driver, click here.

If you received a violation in the mail and need guidance, please click here.