STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) — After an increase in aggressive driving crashes, PennDOT, state police and local law enforcement are looking to get that number in the other direction while stressing the dangers of aggressive driving.
“Slow down, pay attention and prevent these types of crashes,” PennDOT District 2 Press Officer Timothy Nebgen said.
According to 2022 PennDOT data, there were 7,248 aggressive driving crashes that resulted in 119 fatalities. There were 6,206 aggressive driving crashes in 2021 that resulted in 126 lives lost.
“There’s a misconception that just because there is a turning lane in the middle, that was giving people in the oncoming lane the ability to pass red flashing light,” Trooper Jacob Rhymestine said. “A lot of the school bus drivers were alerting to those issues that they’re having consistently on a daily basis.”
State College Area School District Director of Transportation Van Swauger said the district has been citing people for the School Bus Stopping Law for more than six years. Violating the law means at least a $250 fine, a 60-day driver’s license suspension and five points on your record.
The Move Over Law, which impacts drivers near active emergency response vehicles, is also being given an extra eye from law enforcement.
“The law requires drivers approaching the emergency response area to move into another lane, or if they can not do that, pass the emergency response area at a speed of no more than 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit,” Sgt. Ryan Hendrick from the Ferguson Township Police Department said.
Hendrick noted that changes enacted to the law in 2021 included a new point system that imposes two points for failure to merge into the lane not next to the emergency response area. Changes also set fines at $500 for first-time offenders, $1,000 for a second offense and $2,000 for a third or subsequent offense. Third or subsequent offenses also require a 90-day license suspension.
Highway Safety Network Coordinator Josh Woods said that parents and guardians should remember to keep their distance to keep their children safe at the bus stop.
“It’s always a good idea to be five giant steps or 10 feet is the equivalent of five giant steps away from not only that bus but also back from the curbs,” Woods said.