Rep. Anthony Brindisi yesterday (May 13) joined bus drivers, education advocates, and transportation officials at the Chenango Valley Bus Garage in Binghamton to announce his co-sponsorship of the Stop for School Buses Act (H.R. 2218), a new bill aimed at improving school bus safety and strengthening laws against passing stopped buses illegally.
“As a former school board member and a dad to two young kids, keeping students safe on their way to and from school is personal for me,” said Brindisi. “Every driver on the road has a responsibility to follow the law and exercise caution when a school bus is near. Our kids’ lives depend on it.”
According to Brindisi, the bill would conduct a nationwide review of the issue by directing the United States Department of Transportation to do the following:
- Compile illegal passing laws in all states, including levels of enforcement and penalties.
- Review existing public safety measures and programs to prevent illegal passing of school buses.
- Issue recommendations on best practices for preventing illegal passing.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of various technologies that may help prevent illegal passing incidents.
- Review driver education materials in all states to determine whether more information about illegal passing should be provided to drivers.
- Research connections between illegal passing of school buses and other safety issues.
- Create and execute a public safety messaging campaign to promote safe driving when children are present and highlight the dangers of illegal passing.
The new proposal comes days after the Norwich City School District released a video on Facebook of one of its bus drivers, Samantha Call, saving a student from being hit by an illegally passing car.
Brindisi also met with her and her fellow bus drivers earlier in the day in Utica and commended them for their commitment to student safety:
“As a parent, I am incredibly grateful for dedicated professionals like Samantha Call who go above and beyond their jobs descriptions to keep our kids safe. The Stop for School Buses Act is an important step to ensure everyone on the road shares the same responsibility for students’ safety.”
According to the National School Transportation Association, an average of nine to 15 children are killed each year while boarding or exiting school buses near traffic, and a total of 15 million illegal passing incidents occur during every 180-day school year.