The United Motorcoach Association joined organizations representing all segments of the national school bus community in writing Congress to support the STOP for School Buses Act of 2019 (H.R. 2218/S. 1254), which addresses illegal passing of school buses.
The bipartisan legislation would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to undertake a comprehensive review of illegal passing of school buses and make recommendations to Congress on best practices to deal with the safety problem.
“School bus riders remain vulnerable during the portion of their trip when they are waiting at bus stops, crossing streets and loading or unloading from the school bus due to the problem of illegal passing of stopped school buses,” said a statement from the National School Transportation Association (NSTA), National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS). The organizations represent all state regulators and public and private operators of school buses.
In addition to the United Motorcoach Association, 23 other national and state industry associations joined the school bus groups in signing the letter.
“School bus transportation remains the safest form of transportation over all other modes, according to DOT statistics. Children are 70 times safer going to and from school in a yellow school bus than by walking, biking, being driven by parents in cars or teens driving themselves,” the letter stated.
“However, passing of stopped school buses, illegal in all 50 States, has reached epidemic proportions. Illegal passings can have tragic consequences. Last October, in Rochester, Indiana, three children from the same family were killed by an oncoming driver who failed to stop as the kids were crossing the road to board their school bus. These tragedies CAN be prevented. We look forward to your support of the STOP for School Buses Act. ”
A 2018 survey of 105,306 school bus drivers in 38 states and the District of Columbia found that 83,944 vehicles illegally passed stopped school buses in one day. Based on these observations, an estimated 15 million vehicles illegally pass stopped school buses in a 180-day school year across the country.
The STOP Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Julia Brownley (D-CA) and in the Senate by Todd Young (R-IN) and Gary Peters (D-MI).