Over 50 National School Transportation Association (NSTA) representatives participated in 134 meetings in Washington, D.C. on April 30 and May 1 to discuss illegal passing of stopped school buses.
NSTA, its lobbyist Prime Policy Group, and the Senate and House staffs, all worked together to introduce the “Stop Act.” The need for action on illegal passing of school buses has been bubbling nationwide, after the deaths of students hit by motorists. The incident in October 2019, where three siblings were killed by an illegally passing motorist, was particularly troubling, participants noted.
As of this report, data collected by School Transportation News from various local news articles indicates 16 students had been killed, either in loading/unloading zones, or walking to and from their bus stop, for the 2018-2019 school year.
The STOP for School Buses Act of 2019 (STOP Act) calls on the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to review state laws and enforcement levels. The development of best practices is being recommended. The bill also requires the DOT to create a public safety messaging campaign.
“NSTA is confident that the bill provides an appropriate national response to the dangers of illegal passing, and if enacted, would help prevent future tragedies,” the association said on Friday.
HB2218 was introduced in the House on April 10, and has since been referred to the subcommittee on Highways and Transit. The sponsors of the bill are Rep. Jackie Walorski, Rep. Julia Brownley and Rep. Peter Visclosky.
According to the association, they worked this week to “provide a voice to the industry.”
“This event is crucial to NSTA’s government relations efforts. Advocating for our members is at the core of our mission, and helping Washington, D.C. understand and recognize the issues that face our industry and our communities is vital in the success of that mission,” said Blake Krapf, NSTA president.