Wednesday, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) announced the reintroduction of the Stop for School Buses Act. In 2018, in Rochester, Indiana, a driver struck and killed three young siblings and injured a fourth student while they were boarding a school bus. This bipartisan legislation requires a comprehensive evaluation of methods to prevent the dangerous and illegal passing of school buses at loading zones.
“The school bus tragedy that occurred in Rochester in 2018 was unimaginable, and my heart broke for the parents of those young children. We cannot allow that to happen ever again,” said Senator Young. “The Stop for School Buses Act will help prevent the illegal passing of school buses and keep our children safe on their way to school.”
“We need to do everything we can to help keep kids safe on their way to and from school, and that’s why it’s time for a much-needed review of safety laws surrounding school buses,” said Senator Peters. “By passing the Stop for School Buses Act, we can identify best practices and make our communities safer for children and families.”
U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02) introduced a companion bill in the House.
“Children are our future, and we need to make sure they get to and from school safely so they can learn, grow, and find the path to success,” said Congresswoman Walorski. “In far too many communities across the country – including Fulton County here in northern Indiana – we have seen the tragic consequences of illegally driving past a stopped school bus. The Stop for School Buses Act is a bipartisan step we can take to reduce illegal school bus passing and help save lives. This commonsense bill will build on efforts already underway to study innovative technologies, increase public awareness, and help states and local schools develop the best policies to keep students safe.”
The bipartisan Stop for School Buses Act would require the National Highway Transportation Safety (NHTSA) to review and report on existing school bus passing laws and current school bus safety technology to prevent illegal passing. NHTSA would be required to conduct a comprehensive review and report to Congress on best practices.
NHTSA would be required to:
• Identify illegal passing laws in every state, including penalties.
• Review the effectiveness of safety countermeasures to protect school bus loading zones.
• Evaluate and recommend best practices for deterring illegal school bus passing.
• Review driver education materials to determine whether states can improve driver education regarding illegal passing of school buses.
• Implement a public safety messaging campaign to highlight the importance of school bus safety.
“The National School Transportation Association thanks Senators Young and Peters for introducing this important legislation. While school bus transportation remains the safest form of transportation over all other modes, the pervasive problem of other vehicles illegally passing stopped school buses continues to put children in harm’s way. The Stop for School Buses Act will provide a comprehensive set of solutions. NSTA looks forward to working with the Congress to get this bill included in the infrastructure package,” said John Benish, President, National School Transportation Association.