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August 20, 2012  |   Comments (5)   |   Post a comment

National survey finds 88K stop-arm passes

By Thomas McMahon


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This year's one-day sample of 88,025 vehicles illegally passing buses represents nearly 16 million violations in one school year.Staged photo courtesy of Florida's Brevard Public Schools

This year's one-day sample of 88,025 vehicles illegally passing buses represents nearly 16 million violations in one school year.
Staged photo courtesy of Florida's Brevard Public Schools

The second national stop-arm running count found 88,025 violations in a day, up from last year's count of 76,685.

The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) released the final results of the 2012 survey on Monday.

The increase in violations counted comes despite the fact that there were fewer school bus drivers involved in this year's survey: 99,930 bus drivers in 2012, compared to 111,914 in 2011.

The same number of states, 28, participated in this year's stop-arm count.

"This survey captured only a fraction of the violations that bus drivers and other professionals in school transportation and law enforcement know are occurring each and every morning and afternoon," said NASDPTS President Mike Simmons, who is Arkansas' state director. "Any driver who passes a stopped school bus illegally is gambling with a child’s life.”

This year's one-day sample of 88,025 vehicles illegally passing buses represents nearly 16 million violations in a 180-day school year. That's up from about 13 million based on the 2011 count.

But North Carolina state director Derek Graham, who was involved in compiling the national results, told SBF that the survey is less about exactly how many violations there were and more about "showing the magnitude of the whole problem."

With this being the second edition of the national survey, Graham said that one of the most significant aspects is that the findings were relatively consistent with last year's.

"That shows that it's real," he said. "It wasn't a one-time thing."

One of the more alarming findings in the 2011 survey was that 3.1% of the violations were motorists passing the bus on the right side. The proportion was slightly lower this year, at 2%.

About 58% of the vehicles counted this year passed the bus from the front, while the other 42% passed from the rear.

NASDPTS Executive Director Bob Riley told SBF that the 2012 survey results show that stop-arm running is "still a serious problem. Obviously, it's still a major concern of the industry — and people in general when they see the data."

Riley said that the survey results will be sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other federal agencies, but they will mainly be used on a state-by-state basis. Last year's data got significant traction in Maryland and Iowa, both of which passed legislation aimed at cracking down on stop-arm running.

To view the full survey results, go here.


Other news on stop-arm running:

Md. districts aim to capture stop-arm violations

Iowa governor signs illegal bus passing bill


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Read more about: NASDPTS, stop arm running/illegal passing


I am a bus driver and the survey that we are taking today is a joke. I guarantee the 88k is an extremely low number. I'm filling out the survey today but probably won't have any stop sign violations but throughout the course of the a ho year I have them often in our area. Last year I almost had one of my students get ran over. I don't know who is organizing this survey and collecting data but it cannot be an accurat accounting. 88k is bad enough but if they are to ever see the realistic number, it might scare the hell out of them

MP    |    Apr 17, 2013 06:29 AM

Every time I see or hear about a school bus stop-arm law violation it always reminds me of when I first began driving school buses. Most motorist don't even consider what their actions around a school bus should be - all they see is an obstacle on the road that in their minds they think this school bus is going to slow them down while in their commute to where they are going. In addition - have most of you noticed how some States enforce stop-arm violations better than others? How is nit enforced in your area where you drive school buses? Have you also noticed when certain children eventually get killed legislators introduce a "new" law in that child's name to help fight school bus stop-arm violations? It is so sad that it takes a child getting killed in an area. What has always puzzled me is why we are still waiting on more support to enforce school bus stop-arm law violation statutes that are already in place as law statues to allow law enforcement officers to enforce. I know what you are thinking - that police can write tickets all day long or maybe they write enough tickets in your area. Well - if people were driving like they were supposed to around school buses we would have NO students being killed on board and outside school buses ever. In my 28 years we've only had a few years where none were killed. That is what I would like to see repeated every year. No children being killed. We don't thank our law enforcement officers enough when they are putting their lives on the line protecting our communities. They are the only ones who can get this done for us. We do our jobs from the driver's seat of school buses and communicating trouble spots along your route to local and state police officers does make a difference. The officers will need the time of day, the make and model of the vehicle descriptions. If you know positively that you can expect the same drivers running your stop-arm everyday you might consider having your transportation director riding with y

Dan Luttrell    |    Aug 27, 2012 01:08 PM

Why did you delete the comment I left about how Law enforcement isn't enforcing this Code 321.372 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa thus the culture of running school bus stop arms is created by their lack of effort. Until all of us, ESPECIALLY anyone that has anything to do with schools and transportation decide to call out those who by their "laissez faire" attitudes nuture this culture this trend will get worse. After all what we permit as a society we promote.The Police Department in Cedar Rapids,Iowa issue less than 30% of reported violations citations. That is a fact. It is public record. By deleting this message you become part of the problem by allowing those who we all depend on to keep our children safe to slide by not enforcing the laws they swore an oath to protect, Code 321.380, "An Officer shall do his duty." Let my message stand and let them tell all of us who care why they will not issue citations in the amount that will change this culture, yet our Iowa State Patrol does. They issue 90% of the reported violations citations. Law Enforcement must be accountable for their actions like all of us. If we don't demand that they do their jobs, if we don't question their lack of action then WHO WILL? You can start by NOT deleting my posts as I can prove everything I say.

John Adams    |    Aug 25, 2012 08:57 AM

These numbers probably do not reflect the vehicles that have passed a Head Start School Bus. In many states Head Starts use school buses to transport their children. I am willing to bet that if the numbers of vehicles that pass Head Start buses were included in this, the numbers would probably double.

Dave    |    Aug 22, 2012 06:03 AM

I can recall approximately 26 years ago when I was in my second year of driving a special needs route during my morning route when I had just stopped to pick up a student waiting on the sidewalk. No sooner than the child had just stepped upon the entry door way step a car flew by the entry door traveling - yes - down the sidewalk. If the child had not made it into the doorway I hate to think what might have happened. I am glad to say I've never experienced another vehicle ever passing me on the sidewalks. The vehicle - was driven by a high school student. The principal tracked them down after I had followed them to their high school parking lot. You simply don't consider the fact that someone would actually pull up onto a sidewalk to pass a stopped school bus but it does happen. I've often wondered what was going through their mind at the time that caused them to decide it was a good ideal to pass a school bus on the sidewalk? Dan - Indiana.

Dan Luttrell    |    Aug 22, 2012 04:31 AM

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