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Officers Ride Along as Part of National School Bus Safety Week

WILLIAMSPORT -- Newswatch 16 got to ride along with some students headed to school Wednesday morning in Lycoming County -- and so did the police.

Officers across the country are taking part in the National School Bus Safety Week.

Like most weekdays, dozens of school bus drivers were busy with their daily route picking up students around Williamsport, but one bus had a few extra passengers, including a Williamsport police officer.

"If one goes by, she would radio in the description and I would go and make the traffic stop," said Williamsport Patrolman Benjamin Hitesman.

Not far behind an in an unmarked car, Patrolman Hitesman followed the bus. He's on the lookout for drivers who don't stop for school buses. It's all part of the National School Bus Safety Week.

Drivers who don't stop when the red signal lights on a bus are flashing and the red arm is extended are at risk of a fine or losing their license.

Police in Williamsport tell us the only time you don't have to stop for a bus is when you are on the opposite side of a divided highway.

"If it's four lanes, you still have to stop in the opposing direction (if the highway is not divided)."

Seeing the police on the bus was a nice surprise for Mindy Sherman. She waits at the bus stop with her son every morning.

"They just come around and keep going and you just stand here and shake your head," she said, referring to drivers who go around school buses.

Police in Williamsport plan to continue riding the buses periodically to keep the students safe.

5 comments

  • Joe

    The one woman’s comment is inaccurate. Very few people illegally pass school buses, and the main problem is the BUS running kids over. Still, they make a stop-arm extender to block the next lane and be more visible. There were ZERO deaths from illegal bus passes in 2015 nationwide. PA law should conform to what other states laws are, in some cases you may not know you need to stop or may not see the bus, especially on an intersecting road.

  • Bus Monitor

    Great thought but it needs to be enforced everyday not just one week out of the year. Happens daily !! I am sure these officers had their required clearances to ride with these children??

  • warningfakenews

    Unmarked cars shouldn’t make traffic stops, that jeopardizes the safety of everyone’s mom, daughter, sister, etc.

    • Joe

      You are right, too many fake cops out there. Then we people do not stop for the supposed cop, the cops get all fired up, if it is legit

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