U.S. Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) and U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), sponsors of the STOP for School Buses Act, today marked National School Bus Safety Week at a live demonstration of technologies aimed at preventing illegal passing of stopped school buses.
The bipartisan group attended a school bus safety technology showcase hosted by the National School Transportation Association (NSTA). The event featured a school bus equipped with examples of technology used to prevent stop-arm violations.
“Every driver shares the roads with school buses, and we all have a role to play in keeping kids safe,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Today’s event was an important opportunity to learn more about innovative technologies that can help prevent drivers from illegally passing school buses and to discuss our bipartisan efforts in Congress to ensure students are safe on their way to and from school. The STOP for School Buses Act will help states and local communities take the most effective actions to prevent tragedies and save lives.”
“Next Wednesday will mark the one-year anniversary of the tragic deaths of three young Hoosiers in a bus-related crash in Fulton County, Indiana. We cannot accept accidents like this as routine,” said Senator Young. “Today was an opportunity to raise support for the Stop for School Buses Act and spread awareness for the much-needed review of existing safety laws surrounding our school buses.”
“As a mom and a former school board member, ensuring our children get safely to and from school every day is an issue that is near and dear to my heart,” Congresswoman Brownley said. “We need to do more to educate drivers and to assess new technologies that can prevent illegal school bus passing. Kids’ lives depend on it.”
“No parent should ever have to worry about their child being injured or even losing their life while waiting for or boarding their school bus,” said Senator Peters. “We’ve seen a growing number of incidents that pose a risk to the safety of our students and we must take action. It’s time for the Senate to pass the STOP for School Buses Act. I am hopeful that new technologies combined with a comprehensive review of best school bus safety practices will help dramatically reduce these tragic accidents.”
“NSTA was very happy to host this showcase during National School Bus Safety Week highlighting the growing problem of illegal passing of stopped school buses, technologies that can prevent the problem and the STOP for School Buses Act,” said John Benish, Jr., President of the National School Transportation Association. “NSTA thanks Congresswomen Walorski and Brownley and Senators Young and Peters for being present with us today and for their tremendous leadership on this issue, and all who attended the event today. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress to advance this legislation and prevent needless tragedies.”
“As the industry’s trusted leader in school bus safety technologies for over 20 years, we are pleased to have participated in today’s live demonstrations,” said Chris Akiyama, Vice President, School Bus at Safe Fleet. “Earlier today, we showed the Predictive Stop Arm and Driver Alert solutions in action and how they can proactively keep students out of harm’s way. Our solution aims to save lives by gauging risk of stop arm violations, and notifying drivers and students before an accident occurs. We look forward to a future where the School Bus Danger Zone can become a safety zone.”
Walorski, Young, Brownley, and Peters earlier this year introduced the STOP for School Buses Act (H.R. 2218 / S. 1254) to improve student safety by examining ways to prevent dangerous, illegal passing of school buses when children are present. The bipartisan, bicameral bill would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to conduct a comprehensive review of existing laws and programs, recommend best practices, and create a nationwide public safety campaign.
The STOP for School Buses Act would direct a comprehensive, nationwide review of efforts to prevent illegal passing of buses. Under the bill, USDOT would:
- Compile illegal passing laws in all states, including levels of enforcement and penalties.
- Review existing public safety measures and programs to prevent illegal passing of school buses.
- Issue recommendations on best practices for preventing illegal passing.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of various technologies that may help prevent illegal passing incidents.
- Review driver education materials in all states to determine whether more information about illegal passing should be provided to drivers.
- Research connections between illegal passing of school buses and other safety issues.
- Create and execute a public safety messaging campaign to promote safe driving when children are present and highlight the dangers of illegal passing.
Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.