Every day, more than 25 million children ride a bus to school, and these children are often at risk of being injured or killed by drivers who fail to stop while students load and unload the bus. Today’s drivers are more distracted than ever, be it talking, texting, eating, running late, and many other reasons.
These distractions have real-life consequences. According to the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) 2023 illegal passing survey, the number of drivers passing stopped school buses is rising. NASDPTS projects that over 43.5 million illegal passings occur across a 180-day school year.
“Parents should never have to worry about their children going to and from school, and I hope all drivers will pay attention more closely than ever before,” says Melissa Wandall, President of the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR). “Unfortunately, I have had a first-hand experience with a driver disregarding a red light at an intersection, and it has impacted my life every day ever since. I advocate that schools leverage the latest technology to hold drivers accountable and keep kids safe.”
New Legislation, New Safety Tools
Recognizing the critical need to protect students as they enter and exit school buses, many states are enacting legislation to allow and encourage the implementation of school bus stop-arm safety programs.
These programs are instrumental in promoting student safety and holding reckless drivers accountable for their actions. They serve as a deterrent to potential violators and provide a means to identify and penalize those who put children at risk.
Florida is the latest state to acknowledge the results of these programs. It has thus passed legislation to empower communities to operate automated enforcement systems that use cameras to capture evidence of vehicles that illegally pass school buses.
School Bus Stop-Arm Safety Programs
Locations across the United States, such as New York-based Broome County and Oneida County, have recently implemented school bus safety programs. These communities and additional school districts nationwide use Verra Mobility’s CrossingGuard™ School Bus Safety Solutions to help reduce illegal passing.
“Broome County utilizes school bus stop-arm safety cameras County-wide to keep our kids safe,” says Patrick E. Dewing, Director of the Broome County Office of Emergency Services. “We are proud to utilize this life-saving technology to reduce illegal stop-arm running in communities.”
Verra Mobility reports that 99 percent of drivers who were issued and paid a stop-arm violation did not receive a second.1 CrossingGuard safety programs collectively witnessed a 12 percent reduction in issued citations from the beginning of the school year to the end.1 These results signal that drivers caught by the camera system receive the message loud and clear, thus changing their behavior for the better.
Success Behind the Safety Programs
The success of these safety programs is primarily attributed to an exclusive end-to-end solution that incorporates all the services required to reduce illegal school bus passing, including the hardware, software, and services provided by Verra Mobility.
CrossingGuard programs include:
- High-performance hardware: High-resolution cameras, IR illumination, and automated detection technology with no bus driver interaction required.
- Secure mobility platform: Law enforcement review, evidence packages, citation generation, payment support, court integration, analytics, and reporting.
- Effective public awareness: Public relations materials that increase awareness and educate drivers about the technology and the importance of stopping for buses.
- Installation, maintenance, and training: Experienced teams that implement, maintain, and educate all safety program stakeholders.
- Turnkey services: An end-to-end solution that makes implementing a highly complex school bus safety program easy for clients.
Children’s safety is the number one priority, and implementing the right stop-arm safety program can help get us to our goal of zero incidents. As these safety initiatives continue to gain traction, Verra Mobility is dedicated to zeroing in on a significant reduction in illegal passing, ultimately leading to safer journeys for students across the globe. We invite you to join us in taking the safe driving pledge.
Learn more about CrossingGuard school bus safety solutions from Verra Mobility.
1. Verra Mobility CrossingGuard program data 2022/2023 school year