ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Three major national pupil transportation associations teamed up and sent a letter to members of Congress on Wednesday to support a federal bill addressing school bus safety.
The presidents of the National School Transportation Association (NSTA), the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), and the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) requested in the letter co-sponsorship of the Stop for School Buses Act of 2019 (H.R. 2218/S. 1254) from lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
As SBF previously reported, the bill, which aims to address illegal passing of school buses, was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), and in the Senate by Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.). The bipartisan legislation calls upon the U.S. Department of Transportation to undertake a comprehensive review of all issues involved with illegal passing of school buses and make recommendations to Congress on best practices to deal with the national safety issue.
“I appreciate the support of my colleagues, Barry Sudduth, president of the NAPT, and Michael LaRocco, president of NASDPTS, in support of this important legislation," said Blake Krapf, president of the NSTA. "Standing together as an industry, we can bring this bill across the finish line and save the children we transport to and from school from these completely preventable tragedies.”
The associations expressed their appreciation for the ongoing efforts of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to study illegal passing and develop safety countermeasures and added that the bill’s passage will enable NHTSA to broaden its efforts on all aspects of illegal passing and expedite best practice recommendations, according to a news release from the NSTA.
The letter also cites data from the eighth annual NASDPTS survey on the illegal passing of school buses, in which 108,623 school bus drivers in 38 states, plus the District of Columbia, reported that 83,944 vehicles illegally passed their stopped buses on a single day in 2018. Based on these observations, an estimated 15 million vehicles illegally pass stopped school buses in a 180-day school year, according to NASDPTS.
All three associations are urging members of Congress to support and enact the Stop for School Buses Act as soon as possible. The bill is currently in the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, according to the U.S. Congress website.