Alpena News: Peters reintroduces bus safety legislation

ALPENA — When it comes to bus stop safety, the greatest risk to a child is not riding a bus, but approaching or leaving one.

That’s among the reasons U.S. Senators Gary Peters, a Democrat from Oakland County and Todd Young, a Republican from Indiana, reintroduced bi-partisan legislation that would require the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to conduct a comprehensive review on existing school bus passing laws, school bus safety technology, and recommend changes to improve safety.

Peters first introduced the legislation with Young in 2019 after a number of incidents threatened students in Michigan and across the country.

Two students were seriously injured in Montcalm County in 2018 after they were struck by a passing car while crossing the street for their bus which was stopped within a loading zone.

That same year, a driver struck and killed three young siblings and injured a fourth student in Rochester, Indiana while they were boarding their school bus.

 “We need to do everything we can to help keep kids safe on their way to and from school, and that’s why it’s time for a much-needed review of safety laws surrounding school buses,” Peters said recently in a press release. “By passing the Stop for School Buses Act, we can identify best practices and make our communities safer for children and families.”

The Stop for School Buses Act would require the NHTSA to:

  • identify illegal passing laws in every state, including penalties
  • review the effectiveness of safety countermeasures to protect school bus loading zones
  • evaluate and recommend best practices for deterring illegal school bus passing

Review driver education materials to determine whether states can improve driver education regarding illegal passing of school buses

Implement a public safety messaging campaign to highlight the importance of school bus safety

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that, while the number of actual crashes caused by this violation is low, the potential for injury or death is high.

The Michigan State Police reports those who pass stopped school buses may be charged with civil infractions carrying a fine between $100 and $500. Violators may also be required to perform up to 100 hours of community service at the school.

By:  Crystal Nelson
Source: Alpena News