In November 2018, three children in Indiana were killed while crossing the street to get to their school bus. Why? Because the driver who struck and killed them did not stop, despite the fact that the bus’s stop-arm was engaged.
The National Association of State Directors and Pupil Transportation Services surveyed bus drivers in 38 states and found that 20% of of them said that people pass them every day while they are stopped. That means 84,000 motor vehicles pass school buses in the process of picking up or dropping off students across the country.
Although state laws vary when it comes to divided highways, all 50 states have laws that mandate vehicles stop when a school bus has its stop-arm extended and red flashing lights are engaged. Motorists are supposed to slow down when the yellow lights start flashing, but a complete stop is required once the bus stops.
Since this problem appears to be nation-wide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends a four-part initiative for cities and towns throughout the United States to prevent bus stop accidents: 1) education (raise awareness about unique dangers near bus stops); 2) enforcement (increase compliance with traffic laws); 3) engineering (design buses, stop-arms, and lights to be more visible to drivers; and 4) legislation (pass laws to protect schoolchildren).