Survey Shows 1,500 School Bus Passing Violations in One Day
OLYMPIA — September 11, 2013 — A one-day survey conducted nationally highlights a disturbing fact: too many people pass stopped school buses.
Coordinated by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation, the survey asked states to choose a day in Spring 2013 and have bus drivers record the number of vehicles that passed stopped buses, as well as when the passing occurring, the direction from which the passing occurred and the side of the bus on which the passing occurred.
A total of 29 states, including Washington, completed the survey. Of the 29 states, 108,436 buses participated, recording 85,279 instances of passing.
Washington state chose May 1, 2013, to survey. On that day, 3,588 bus drivers in 110 districts responded, recording 1,523 violations.
“Passing stopped school buses remains a serious problem,” said Randy Dorn, superintendent of public instruction. “Every violation represents a potential accident and potential injury to a student.”
Dorn noted that extrapolating the data to the state’s 295 districts and for a 180-day school year would result in nearly 550,000 violations. Even more disturbing, 32 instances of cars passing buses on the right – the side on which students enter the bus – occurred on May 1.
“Legislation was passed in 2011 that gave districts the authority to place cameras in buses so that pictures can be taken of the violators and they can be ticketed,” Dorn said. “I urge districts to look into whether installing the cameras is the right thing for that community.”
Dorn added that no children have died from stopped school bus incidents in 2012 or in 2011. “That’s a testament to the training and professionalism of the 11,000 bus drivers in our state,” he said. “They take the safety of our school children very seriously. I hope these numbers help drivers do the same.”
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
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The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.