ALLEGHENY TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WTAJ) — Many students returned to classes across the region Thursday after holiday break, but local police say drivers in a specific area aren’t stopping for buses, endangering students.
The problem spot is along Plank Road, between Convention Center Blvd., and the Meadows Intersection.
The confusion is that this road is a five-lane, un-divided highway, meaning if a school bus has its arm extended and red lights flashing, drivers on both sides of the road must stop; however, officials say that isn’t what’s happening.
Allegheny Township police say they get daily reports from parents and school bus drivers about this section of Plank Road. On both sides of the road, drivers aren’t stopping.
“I can’t pinpoint what’s causing this,” Allegheny Township Police Chief, Leo Berg said. “We’ve had problems last year but this year seems to have escalated.”
Berg says they notified PennDOT about the issue and put up large signs to remind motorists about school bus safety laws, but they’ve seen little to no change.
“Even with those signs being displayed, the drivers are still failing to stop for the school buses,” Berg said.
Drivers do not need to stop for a school bus if there is a physical barrier dividing the roadway, such as a grassy median or guide rails. Otherwise, cars on both sides must wait.
“People in general need to slow down, think of their safety and the safety of others,” Berg said.
Berg hopes drivers will change their habits and remember lives are at stake.
“If something does happen to one of those kids, it changes families,” Berg said.
Officers from the department often patrol the area during busy school pick-up and drop-off times. They say there haven’t been any accidents along this road, and they want to keep it that way.
Drivers could face a $250 fine, five points on their license, and a 60-day license suspension if they fail to stop.
Police say when it doubt, just stop.