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Advanced Technology Aims to Increase School Bus Stop Safety


WRITTEN BY DEBBIE CURTIS S


chool bus drivers have grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of prosecution of motorists who violate laws requiring them to heed traffic controls during student loading and unloading. Since the school bus industry can’t change the mentality of every motorist, various state and local laws are being passed to help convict “red-light-runners.” Te latest technology that is becoming


available for school buses may help prosecute or at least decrease the thousands of motorists who ignore stopped buses every day, and give bus drivers a better view of the “Danger Zone” around the bus at stops to help them keep their students safe. Te gap between laws designed to ensure higher safety standards for school buses and the continually evolving technology is lessening. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, at least 15 states allow cameras on stop arms in an attempt to punish motorists who pass stopped buses. Te New York Association for Pupil Trans-


portation (NYAPT) has repeatedly called upon state lawmakers to pass legislation that will allow school districts to mount cameras on school buses and for law enforcement to use the evidence to prosecute motorists who pass stopped school buses illegally. Te 2018-2019 state budget failed to include language meet- ing this need, but NYAPT said in late March that it will continue to exert pressure. Meanwhile, Abigail’s Law in New Jersey


requires that, as of April 1, “All subsequently manufactured school buses in New Jersey must be equipped with front and rear motion sen- sors to determine the presence of persons or objects passing in front of or behind a bus.” Te legislation stems from a November 2003 trage- dy in South Plainfield, when 2-year-old Abigail Kuberiet was struck and killed by the school bus that was picking up her older siblings. Te bill was first sponsored in the New Jersey state assembly a year after Abigail’s death. It was held up for years, partly because the motion sensor technology it required was still in its infancy. 


56 School Transportation News • MAY 2018


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