BOISE, Idaho — The state of Idaho launched a public service announcement (PSA) on Tuesday, designed to promote school bus stop-arm awareness for greater student safety.
Sherri Ybarra, the superintendent of public instruction for the Idaho State Department of Education, released the PSA, "School Bus Crossing Arm Safety," which aims to increase public awareness of school buses and the stop-arm law designed to protect students, according to a news release from the State Department of Education.
“Distracted drivers put our kids at risk,” Ybarra says in the PSA. She reminds listeners to “be an engaged driver and watch for school buses as they pick up and drop off kids.”
She also explains in the PSA that in Idaho, the law requires all drivers to stop when a school bus extends its stop arm on a roadway with three or fewer lanes. On roads with four or more lanes, motorists must stop if they are traveling in the same direction as the bus.
Ybarra added in the news release that she “urges drivers to take extra caution, whenever you see a school bus with its lights on and stop arm extended.”
More buses in the state also are deploying cameras to capture violators and the license plate of the car that ignores the stop-arm law, according to the State Department of Education.
According to state law, bus drivers should report stop-arm violations to law enforcement, and local authorities will find the driver and issue a citation. Idaho code states that the owner of the car is responsible for the citation unless they can prove someone else was driving, in which case the other person is cited. The fine for a violation of the stop-arm law can run from $100 to $500 (Idaho Code §49-1422 and §49-1423) and includes adding four points to the violator’s driver’s license.
“It’s been a long time since driver’s [education] training for some people, so they may have forgotten the rules,” said Derek Newland, director of student transportation for the State Department of Education.
Newland added that bus routes are designed to prevent children from having to cross multiple lanes of traffic to board a bus.
Last year, Newland said he sent out a survey in November to school districts, asking them for the number of stop-arm violation reports they received for that month. A total of 48 districts responded, with more than 600 violations reported.
Moreover, as School Bus Fleet previously reported, a nationwide survey conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) found that more than 80,000 motorists ran school bus stop arms in one day.
Listen to the PSA here.