National Survey Finds 88K School Bus Stop-Arm Passes

The second national stop-arm running count found 88,025 violations in a day, up from last year’s count of 76,685.

The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) released the final results of the 2012 survey on Aug. 20.

The increase in violations counted comes despite the fact that there were fewer school bus drivers involved in this year’s survey: 99,930 bus drivers in 2012, compared to 111,914 in 2011.

The same number of states, 28, participated in this year’s stop-arm count.

“This survey captured only a fraction of the violations that bus drivers and other professionals in school transportation and law enforcement know are occurring each and every morning and afternoon,” said NASDPTS President Mike Simmons, who is Arkansas’ state director. “Any driver who passes a stopped school bus illegally is gambling with a child’s life.”

This year’s one-day sample of 88,025 vehicles illegally passing buses represents nearly 16 million violations in a 180-day school year. That’s up from about 13 million based on the 2011 count.

But North Carolina state director Derek Graham, who was involved in compiling the national results, said that the survey is less about exactly how many violations there were and more about “showing the magnitude of the whole problem.”

With this being the second edition of the national survey, Graham said that one of the most significant aspects is that the findings were relatively consistent with last year’s.

“That shows that it’s real,” he said. “It wasn’t a one-time thing.”

One of the more alarming findings in the 2011 survey was that 3.1% of the violations were motorists passing the bus on the right side. The proportion was slightly lower this year, at 2%.

About 58% of the vehicles counted this year passed the bus from the front, while the other 42% passed from the rear.

NASDPTS Executive Director Bob Riley saidthat the 2012 survey results show that stop-arm running is “still a serious problem. Obviously, it’s still a major concern of the industry — and people in general when they see the data.”

Riley said that the survey results will be sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other federal agencies, but they will mainly be used on a state-by-state basis. Last year’s data got significant traction in Maryland and Iowa, both of which passed legislation aimed at cracking down on stop-arm running.

To view the full survey results, go here.

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Tagged with: School Bus Safety

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