One of the most important rules of the road that we learn as motorists is to stop for a school bus when its stop arm is out and its lights are flashing. The reason is simple: Children are either boarding or exiting the bus.

A young driver’s failure to follow that rule resulted in a fatal car accident this week. A 13-year-old girl was walking across a highway in Erie County, Pennsylvania, with another student to get on their school bus around 7 a.m. Tuesday. Pennsylvania State Police said a car driven by a 19-year-old man crashed into the two students as they were crossing the road. The girl died of blunt force injuries, and the 17-year-old boy walking with her suffered more moderate injuries that sent him to a hospital.

State police are still investigating the crash, but they said that the school bus’ lights were flashing at the time. This was a clear signal that the driver should have stopped and waited for any students to cross the road.

No charges have been filed against the driver as of yet. But it’s possible the family of the student who died will file a wrongful death lawsuit against him. The injured student’s family could also file a personal injury suit.

The crash happened just a week before a new law goes into effect for teen drivers in the state. Although the 19-year-old motorist is just over the age limit for the new law, it promises to serve as a reminder for all Pennsylvania motorists to drive cautiously and without distractions.

Source:, “Coronor: Teen killed at bus stop in Summit died of blunt-force trauma,” Tim Hahn, Dec. 22, 2011