Slow Down for School Buses, Pedestrians
School bells will be ringing soon, as students prepare to head back to class in the coming weeks. Now is a good time to refresh our memories about how to share the road safely with school buses and other school transportation vehicles.
Pennsylvania law requires motorists stop at least 10 feet away from school buses when their red lights are flashing and their stop arm is extended. Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm is withdrawn. Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.
Penalties for failure to obey school bus safety laws can result in a $250 fine, five points on a driving record and a 60-day license suspension.
Parents are reminded to ensure that their children are at the bus stop early to avoid rushing. Students should stay where the bus driver can see them while boarding or exiting the bus.
Click here for more information and tips for school bus safety.
Get the Facts About Concussions
With many student athletes back at school for fall sports practice, it’s a good time for students, parents and coaches to be vigilant at preventing, recognizing and managing concussions.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, or from a fall or blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Concussions can have serious short-term and long-term impacts, especially on young people whose brains are still developing.
In 2011, the Safety in Youth Sports Act was signed into law in Pennsylvania, requiring all school entities to develop return-to-play policies for student athletes with concussions, as well as requiring related training for coaches.
Visit the Department of Health’s website at www.health.pa.gov and search for “Traumatic Brain Injury” for approved curricula for coaches and other school personnel, along with frequently asked questions about the law and many other state-related resources.
Most importantly, if you think your child has a concussion, seek medical attention, discuss the injury with the coach and don’t allow the athlete to return to play without permission from a health care professional.
Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) is joining the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” impaired driving enforcement campaign from now through the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Troopers will conduct high-visibility patrols and DUI checkpoints, with a zero-tolerance approach toward impaired driving.
During the three-day Labor Day holiday enforcement period in 2016, PSP investigated 704 crashes statewide, including 61 crashes involving alcohol, and four alcohol-related fatal crashes.
Penalties for a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania vary based on several factors, including an individual’s criminal history, blood alcohol content (BAC) level, and whether or not there were injuries or property damage in the event of a crash.
Potential consequences include thousands of dollars in fines, a license suspension and even prison time. The most significant cost is the loss of life.
People are urged to always drink responsibly and make a plan to get home safely.
Batter Up! 511PA Website Helps Travelers to Little League World Series
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has launched a web page, www.511pa.com/LLWS, to provide real-time travel and alternate-route information to assist motorists traveling to the Little League World Series in Williamsport Aug. 17-27.
The new page, hosted through the department’s www.511PA.com traveler information website, is dedicated to monitoring traffic conditions on the primary travel routes to the event. Travel times and alerts are listed for: Route 15 south to Route 220 to Market Street; Route 15 north; Interstate 80 east to Route 220 north to Market Street; and I-80 west to Route 15 north.
The page includes the average travel time for the primary route, as well as one or two alternate routes. Users can see incidents, construction, weather forecasts and alerts, traffic cameras, and traffic speeds on the map. Maps showing traffic trends on each day of the event in the previous three years are also available.
In addition to Little League World Series information, motorists can use www.511PA.com to check conditions on nearly 40,000 roadway miles in Pennsylvania. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 825 traffic cameras.
Outreach and Satellite Hours Offered Next Week
On Tuesday, Aug. 22, a member of my staff will be available at the Laceyville Borough Building, located at 342 Church St., Laceyville, from 3-5 p.m.
A caseworker for U.S. Congressman Lou Barletta (R-Hazleton) will be at the Tunkhannock district office on Monday, Aug. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon. Assistance will be available for constituents who are having problems with federal agencies and programs, and those seeking help are encouraged to bring documents they have received from federal agencies related to their issues.
A representative from the University of Scranton Small Business Development Center will be at the Tunkhannock district office on Tuesday, Aug. 22, from 10 a.m. to noon. The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center provides educational programs and no-cost, confidential consulting services to entrepreneurs looking to start or grow a small business.
Safety Tips for Monday’s Solar Eclipse
The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun. To date, four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.
Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. Always supervise children using solar filters.
• Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
• Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device.
• If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases.
An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other. With your back to the sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse.
A solar eclipse is one of nature’s grandest spectacles. By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime.
2017 PA Travel Guides, Hunting and Trapping Digests Available in District Offices
2017 PA Travel Guides, along with the latest Hunting and Trapping Digests, are available in my Dallas and Tunkhannock district offices. Residents of the 117th Legislative District may stop by either office from Monday through Friday to pick them up.
Around Our Community
Congratulations to David Keller, who received the Third Annual Michael Prokopchak President’s Award from the Luzerne County Association of Townships Officials.
I am pictured with several state and local officials at the Luzerne County Association of Township Officials Annual Convention.
The Tunkhannock American Legion presented a check to Wounded Warriors of Pennsylvania at my Tunkhannock district office on Tuesday, Aug. 15.
Pictured are Walter Konopke, chaplain, American Legion Post 457; Brian Schillinger, member, American Legion Post 457; Charlie Stockage, commander, American Legion Post 457; Jim Zehring, ambassador, PA Wounded Warriors; Helen Sajer, PA Wounded Warriors; Maryanne Eckert, mother of Mary Grace Eckert, the first ambassador for PA Wounded Warriors; Leslie Cadden from my office; and Frank Gaus, vice commander, American Legion Post 457.