NHTSA's proposed studies would assess motorists’ knowledge of laws that prohibit passing stopped school buses and stop-arm camera effectiveness.   - File photo courtesy Mitzi Bowers

NHTSA's proposed studies would assess motorists’ knowledge of laws that prohibit passing stopped school buses and stop-arm camera effectiveness.  

File photo courtesy Mitzi Bowers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a collection of information for two studies — one on motorists’ knowledge of laws that prohibit passing stopped school buses and another on stop-arm camera effectiveness.  

The first study would be based on an online survey designed to collect information from motorists across the U.S. to assess their “knowledge of and attitudes towards laws regarding the passing of stopped school buses, as well as their opinions on the safest driver behaviors when encountering a school bus on the roadway,” according to a notice (docket No. NHTSA–2020–0018) that NHTSA published in the Federal Register on Sunday.

The second study would be a field study conducted in two communities with different levels of camera enforcement laws against passing stopped school buses. The goal of the study would be to “examine the effectiveness of an automated school bus camera enforcement system combined with high-visibility police enforcement and public education in reducing school bus passing violations,” according to the notice.

The survey data collected from the communities would be examined to assess “awareness of the enforcement and camera programs, driver knowledge of and attitudes towards school bus passing laws, and self-reported behavior when encountering a school bus on the roadway before and after program implementation.”

NHTSA stated in the notice that although there have been several highly publicized incidents of schoolchildren being struck, sometimes fatally, by motorists illegally passing a school bus and the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) annual stop-arm survey continually showing a high incidence of illegal passing violations, there hasn’t been a national survey that assesses driver knowledge of laws related to passing school buses.

 “The findings from this proposed collection of information will assist NHTSA in designing, targeting, and implementing programs intended to mitigate illegal passing of school buses on the roadways and to provide data to states, localities, and law enforcement agencies that will aid in their efforts to reduce crashes and injuries due to illegal school bus passing,” the notice states.

NASDPTS has notified NHTSA that it supports the initiative and is encouraging its members to comment on it, Charlie Hood, NASDPTS's executive editor wrote in an email message to the association's members on Sunday. Comments on the collection of information for the proposed studies will be accepted through Sept. 15.

Read the notice for more information.

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