The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) canceled its annual one-day voluntary survey of states that the group utilizes to extrapolate a national number of illegal-passing violations committed by motorists at school bus stops each school year.
Charlie Hood, executive director for NASDPTS, made the announcement via email to members on Wednesday and cited the closure of many school districts, charter schools and other educational institutions nationwide that will last for weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
To date, Hood said only two local school districts had submitted information for the survey.
“We know the survey data is important. The past nine years of data have documented an unfortunate and consistently high incidence of illegal passing (see the attached chart for the overall numbers),” Hood said. “Shortly, we will be pivoting to one or two concise surveys that would ask state directors and perhaps local school districts to answer other important questions about policies, procedures and equipment that states are employing to mitigate illegal passing of school buses and improve pedestrian safety for school bus riders.”
The survey, which began in 2011, consistently has indicated that illegal passing incidents continue to plague local areas, despite all 50 states enforcing laws that require motorists to stop for students who are boarding or exiting school buses.
Last year, over 107,000 of the nation’s nearly 500,000 school bus drivers, reported that 81,841 vehicles illegally passed their buses. NASDPTS said those violations equate to 17 million violations occurring nationwide over a 180-day school year.
Hood added that the NASDPTS goal is to simplify the surveys to encourage the most possible responses while also collecting best-practices or sources of data that states oversee.
“We will not reinvent the wheel or attempt to duplicate other, existing information sources,” he said, citing a report published in January 2020 by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) on state school bus stop-arm camera laws.
Hood said NASDPTS is developing the surveys and welcomes state director input.
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