One-day stop arm survey by school bus drivers uncovers more than 7,000 violators
BALTIMORE (March 24, 2011) Drivers are bypassing the stop arms on school buses at an alarming rate, a Maryland State Department of Education-sponsored survey has revealed.
A total of 7,028 violations of school bus stop arms were recorded on a single day last month. Nearly 4,000 (3,997) were oncoming drivers who ignored the stop arm, 2,665 drivers moved past a stopped bus on the bus drivers side of the vehicle and 366 drivers passed a stopped bus on the door side. Stop arms swing out from a bus and lights flash whenever it is making a student pickup.
It is simply illegal to pass a bus with its stop arm extended and its lights flashing, no matter the circumstances, said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. Our number one priority as educators and drivers should be the safety our Maryland school children.
MSDE coordinated the survey along with school transportation directors in all 24 systems. It is considered a snapshot of illegal activity on the roads. More than 4,712 school bus drivers took part in the survey, representing 65 percent of the school bus drivers in the State.
Large systems noted the most violators. Baltimore County school bus drivers tallied the most 1,723 drivers ignoring the stop arm followed by Montgomery County (1,645), Baltimore City (897), Anne Arundel (845), and Prince Georges (745). Prince Georges County found the highest number of door side violations, with 136.
A few small systems found no violators on the day of the survey: Allegany, Caroline, and Queen Annes.
The survey was undertaken at the behest of a number of members of the Maryland General Assembly, which is considering several bills designed to strengthen school bus safety. The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services is coordinating surveys of this type in all 50 States.
Source: Maryland State Department of Education