The 5th Annual National Stop Arm Violation Count is underway and states are being called on to participate in recording the total number of motorists who illegally pass school buses.
States are asked to choose a single day for both public and private school bus drivers to observe and report all instances of illegal passing and count the total numbers of drivers who are in violation, such as multiple vehicles passing the bus at one time.
NASDPTS Executive Director Charlie Hood and North Carolina State Director Derek Graham are the survey coordinators. They asked members in an email to conduct the survey on a state-designated day until May 15. Hood and Graham added that they want to begin assembling data from the various states in June.
Last year, 29 states took part in a one-day survey of incidents at local bus stops. NASDPTS said 97,000 school bus drivers, or a fifth of the nation's approximately 480,000 school bus drivers, agreed to manually record the number of times individual motorists broke state laws by not yielding to stopped school buses or students who were loading or unloading from the bus.
Those surveys were held on different days during the months of March through May but in aggregate resulted in 75,966 vehicles recorded in violation of state school bus laws.
"Recently, we have seen several state initiatives to improve motorist education about school bus stopping laws and to increase law enforcement," said Hood and Graham. "If this year's data remains consistent it will support a continuing need for greater safety countermeasures at the state or national level."
Since the survey began in 2011, the results average out at 81,489 illegal passing incidents a year, with the low number being last year's figure and the high 88,025 reported incidents in 2012.