The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services or NASDPTS has launched a statewide effort to make motorists aware of the laws when it comes to traveling on the road with school buses.
A statewide Georgia study, completed during a one-day survey last May, indicated that 7,349 vehicles passed school buses illegally in a total of 4,222 incidences. In a press release from the State of Georgia Department of Education this rate is described as “alarmingly high.” The GaDOE reports that since the year 1995, 11 Georgia students have been killed when they were struck by motorists at a school bus stop.
“It’s frightening to think we have this many drivers breaking the law and endangering our children,” stated State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge in a press release. “I would ask the public to please pay close attention to school buses and watch for their stop signals. Student safety should be a priority for everyone in the community, not just parents and schools.”
The GaDOE and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety are working to educate motorists about the laws regarding passing school buses. According to the law in Georgia, when a school bus activates its stop-arm on a two-lane road or a multi-lane road with no median or barrier, traffic in both directions must stop. Vehicles traveling in the same direction as the bus must always stop however vehicles traveling in the opposite direction may proceed with caution if there is an unpaved median or concrete barrier separating the lanes.
In 2012 the NASDPTS reports that 28 states reported 88,025 stop-arm violations recorded by nearly 100,000 school bus drivers. These results indicate that during a normal 180-day school year, nearly 16 million motorists ignore school buses flashing red lights and stop arms.