School Bus Traffic Cameras: Why it's a good idea
Something I have seen trending lately is the push for traffic cameras on school buses. As a mother of a school-aged child, and as an everyday driver I think this is a brilliant idea.This follows a push in the last few years of installing cameras on the inside of buses to monitor students and driver activity.
Why? The statistics are alarming. For example, for one day the NASDPTS (National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services) asked bus drivers in 28 states to record snap shots of illegal passing occurring during their bus runs. This is passing that is occurring after the buses are stopped displaying their flashing red lights and stop arms. The numbers were staggering. Almost 112,000 drivers reported over 37,000 incidents. Many times each incident was not just one car, but multiple cars illegally passing the bus after it had stopped. The full results can be viewed here.
Last year my son rode the bus to and from school 75% of the time. I am very happy to report that I did not see any illegal passing at his specific bus stop. However our stop is on a quiet street inside our neighborhood. Just a few blocks away, there is a 2 lane road that leads to a 6 lane local highway. Along this 2 lane road there are a handful of apartment complexes with multiple school bus stops. I am sad to say, for years, while traveling this road I have witnessed illegal passings more times than I can count.
Sometimes it's a distraction caused by texting or cell devices. Other times it's a split second decision by a driver to save a few seconds or minutes off their commute. Either way it can have deadly consequences. For example, just this month a 17 year old student was hit and killed while stepping off her bus after school.
To me this is a no-brainer and I am pretty sure most mothers out there can agree. Our children count on their school buses to facilitate a safe passage to and from school each day. This could protect what we love most from poor driver decisions.
Last year the state I reside in, Washington, passed a law okaying the cameras. Hopefully all states will follow their lead. I believe we should all rally behind the call to install these cameras.