WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLUC) - U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent motorists from passing school buses stopped at loading zones. The Stop for School Buses Act of 2019 commissions a comprehensive review of best practices to prevent vehicles from illegally passing school buses that are loading or unloading students.
The legislation comes as a number of incidents have threatened students in Michigan and across the country. Last year in Montcalm County, two students were seriously injured after they were struck by a passing car while crossing the street for their bus to school that was stopped within the loading zone. Additionally, a driver struck and killed three young siblings and injured a fourth student while they were boarding their school bus in Rochester, Indiana.
“I’m very troubled by instances of students being injured or losing their lives while waiting for or boarding their school buses,” said Senator Peters. “Parents should expect their children to be safe going to and from school. That’s why I’m introducing the bipartisan Stop for School Buses Act to conduct a top-to-bottom review on what more can be done to address school bus safety.”
“The tragedy that occurred in Rochester is unimaginable, and my heart breaks for the parents of those young children. We cannot allow this 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.”
The legislation would require the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (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. As part of the review, NHTSA would:
•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 (NSTA) appreciates the work of Senators Todd Young and Gary Peters to introduce the ‘STOP for School Buses Act of 2019,’” said Blake Krapf, President of the National School Transportation Association. “The bill provides a comprehensive federal response to the important issue of preventing illegal passing of school buses so that we can ensure that students are just as safe getting on and off their yellow school buses as they are riding inside their yellow school buses, the safest form of transportation over all others. NSTA stands ready to help build support for the bill as it moves through Congress.”