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April 10, 2012  |   Comments (5)   |   Post a comment

States launch 2nd national stop-arm running count

By Thomas McMahon

Last year's inaugural national survey found that more than 76,000 vehicles illegally passed school buses in a one-day snapshot.Photo by Lois Cordes

Last year's inaugural national survey found that more than 76,000 vehicles illegally passed school buses in a one-day snapshot.
Photo by Lois Cordes

States across the nation are designating a day this spring to tally incidents of illegal school bus passing.

The effort is the second annual nationwide count, spearheaded by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS).

Last year's inaugural survey found that more than 76,000 vehicles illegally passed school buses in a one-day snapshot. Twenty-eight states participated.

NASDPTS Executive Director Bob Riley told SBF that the association hopes to get more states involved in the count this year and to continue raising awareness about stop-arm running. Also, a few changes have been made to simplify and improve the survey.

Riley noted that the results of last year's bus-passing survey have been used in a number of ways. In Maryland, for example, the statewide count of illegal passes — more than 7,000 — helped in passing legislation that enables the state's counties to pass their own bills to allow the use of stop-arm cameras in citing violators.

"That was pretty much a direct result of the survey," Riley said.

Later in the year, the Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention announced that 46 agencies across the state would receive a total of $548,411 in grants to help in reducing the number of illegal bus-passing incidents.

Also, some of NASDPTS' nationwide statistics were recently cited by U.S. Rep Bruce Braley of Iowa, who introduced federal legislation that would require his state's new stricter stop-arm running penalties to apply to all states in the country.

Riley also said that he has gotten many calls from reporters about the nationwide survey results.

NASDPTS has asked states to conduct this year's count between March 1 and May 15. For more information, go here.

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

What, exactly is the in-town policy for use of the stop arm when picking up/dropping off students? Is it supposed to be used if the student is picked up at the curb?

gayle roelfs    |    Apr 23, 2012 04:23 PM

I participated in the survey, they definitely should do a it for more than one day! As a 21 yr school bus driver, I have people run my stop sign, take ditches to get around me, go down the right side of the bus while a child was loading, several near misses, and I have turned in so many violations, and I feel nothing was ever done the violators.

Donna Harbison    |    Apr 20, 2012 05:03 PM

I'd like to see Michigan participate if they're not already. Last year, I personally turned in 70+ violators, and that was probably 1/3 of my total violations observed on my bus alone. My route is just over 100 miles per day and included a 2-lane state highway in the afternoon last year. This year, the numbers have dropped as I'm on less travelled roads, but would still like to see stop arm cameras in use!

Avery Smith    |    Apr 11, 2012 08:07 AM

One day is not enough, it should be at least three days to aquire a semi accurate accounting for realistic numbers

Bob Wolf    |    Apr 11, 2012 06:20 AM

76K with only 1/2 the states reporting. What happens when all 50 & DC report. What I would really like to see is the actual number of near misses and heaven forbit the number of students struck. Assuming a 10-20% questionable incident, these numbers are still very disconcerting. Bus Divers - keep your eyes open and keep the kids safe form the idiots driving out there. 23 years as a school bus driver and I have had more than my share of blown stop arm violations with a couple of near misses.

Mike    |    Apr 10, 2012 08:06 PM

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