Walorski ‘END’ Act would build on efforts to curb illegal passing

A new U.S. House bill would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to establish demonstration projects nationwide to monitor and collect data on the illegal passing of school buses.

Reps. Rudy Yakym, R-Indiana, and Julia Brownley, D-California, introduced a draft of the bipartisan Jackie Walorski Enhancing Necessary Data on Illegal School Bus Passing Act, or the END Act, on May 26 in honor of the Indiana congresswoman who was killed last summer in an automobile crash. At this writing, the legislation had yet to be officially filed.

Yakym was sworn in to replace Walorski in the House in November, and Brownley worked with Walorski to get the STOP for School Buses Act passed as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Biden two years ago. Now Public Law 117-58, STOP for School Buses Act directs NHTSA to review school bus passing laws nationwide and evaluate technology and other safety measures to keep students safe as they board and exit their school buses as well as cross the street to and from their buses.

Supplementing the STOP Act

The National School Transportation Association on Tuesday said the END Act builds on NHTSA work mandated by the STOP for School Buses Act.

Jackie Walorski

“Though the STOP Act was a great start, the illegal passing epidemic continues to grow around the country,” the association wrote in a statement. “According to a study conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation, 41.8 million illegal passing violations occur per 180-day school year. The END Act will continue the mission started by the late Jackie Walorski to end illegal passing in America.”

If passed, the END Act would direct NHTSA to provide funds for demonstration projects to collect the number of illegal passing incidents, traffic patterns and characteristics, information on the motorists who illegally pass, and the role distracted driving plays in the violations. 

NHTSA would be required to submit a report detailing the program findings to Congress. The agency then would create a national public service announcement to educate the public about the dangers of illegally passing school buses.

The END Act would also require NHTSA, in consultation with the National Conference of State Legislatures, to draft model legislation states could use to address illegal passing. NHTSA would also modify educational materials created for traffic safety resource prosecutors and state agencies to emphasize stronger enforcement of laws prohibiting illegal passing.

Reprinted with permission from School Transportation NewsRead the original post.

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