School bus safety bill aims to catch drivers ignoring stopped buses

Thousands of parents depend on school buses every day to get their kids to and from school safely. But, drivers ignoring the bus’s stop signals are posing a real threat to students.

Just last week, a semi truck was caught on camera flying by a stopped school bus in Minnesota, nearly killing a student that was waiting alongside the highway.

“It’s very dangerous.  There’s times you may unload as high as 30 kids at one stop,” said Allen Sattazahn, who has been a bus driver for more than 20 years.

Unfortunately, this type of incident happens every day and now Pennsylvania lawmakers are pushing for legislation to stop drivers from passing stopped buses.

“Currently it’s the dschoolbusriver’s responsibility to record the violation, capture the license plate of the vehicle, any identifying information about the driver, the time and location of when it occurred,” said Jillian Meinke, the Director of Student Guardian.

Under the proposed bill by Representative Seth Grove, cameras would be installed on the outside of school buses to catch drivers disobeying stop signals.

“Those video files are then wirelessly transmitted to our central station processing facility, where they are reviewed; they go through multiple layers of verification and quality assurance before being sent to law enforcement for review,” said Meinke.

A bus with the Cornwall Lebanon School district is the first to test out the camera system under a new pilot study.

Since December of 2013, Meinke says they have caught more than 25 drivers illegally passing stopped buses.

Under the proposed bill, violators would be fined 250 dollars.

Representative Grove says he’d like to see the camera system implemented by next Fall.

“It puts a structure in place so that all 500 school districts would be eligible to do it in a way that’s cost neutral for them in order to obviously utilize the technology that we have today and move forward with reducing violators.” Grove said.