Safety First! The Real Issue of Illegal Passing Rears its Head
published on October 23, 2015 by Sonia Mastros
When it comes to passing school buses, motorists in each state are subject to a different set of laws and regulations. Though most motorists understand the safety risks of illegally passing a bus, it remains a consistent, though dangerous, practice. In fact, a survey conducted in 2012 by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services indicates that there are nearly 16 million violations each school year.
Every U.S. state has specific laws prohibiting the passing of a school bus when red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, but unfortunately, many motorists ignore them. The risks are clear: students are not always visible when entering or exiting a bus. Accidents caused by motorists passing school buses have resulted in serious injury and even death, so why does illegal passing happen so often?
1. Uninformed Motorists
Not all motorists are aware of local laws prohibiting the passing of a school bus and the danger involved in doing so. Laws vary slightly based on where you live.
2. Lack of Penalty
Even with the possibility of large fines and accident risks as a result of their negligent behavior, motorists often choose to ignore bus passing laws because they don’t believe that they’ll be found out.
So, what’s the solution?
Fortunately, today’s transportation management technology is making it easier for bus drivers to report these types of incidents to their district and law-enforcement officials. School bus routing software, like BusBoss, contains features that allow their dispatchers to quickly and accurately access the driver’s route information and get this information to the police. In addition, programs like BusBoss have features that allow the user to create threat zones. These zones can be used by the district to avoid hazardous corners and unsafe areas where these stop arm violations are prevalent.
Many districts are utilizing camera systems as a way to record driving offenses for alerting law enforcement. As incidents are reported, violators are then issued citations in the hopes of preventing future infractions.
Education is another prevention tactic. School districts across the U.S. are implementing safety education programs for motorists. In New York, for example, the “Operation Safe Stop” program places police officers on school buses and in unmarked patrol cars on routes with a history of multiple violations. Members of the media are even invited along to help spread the word.
Though illegal school bus passing remains a serious issue, there are positive steps and partnerships that your district can implement to reduce the risk. Transportation management software is one tool that can make a difference and decrease safety risks.
We'd love to hear how transportation management software has helped your district keep children safe.
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